Cardiac catheterization is a procedure used to diagnose and treat cardiovascular conditions. In cardiac catheterization, a tiny hollow tube, or catheter, is advanced from a blood vessel in the groin or arm through the aorta into the heart. Once the catheter is in place, several diagnostic techniques may be used. The tip of the catheter can be placed into various parts of the heart to measure the pressures within the chambers. The catheter can be advanced into the coronary arteries and a contrast dye injected into the arteries.
An example of cardiac catheterization is a laser treatment, a tool used to open blocked heart arteries. Laser energy evaporates and removes blockages that are difficult to treat successfully with angioplasty alone. Laser treatment is often followed by angioplasty to improve the chance for a successful outcome.
Inova interventional cardiologists also perform intravascular ultrasounds (IVUS) during a cardiac catheterization to provide "inside out" views of the coronary arteries using sound waves. This is similar to an echocardiogram.
Cardiac catheterization procedures are performed by our interventional cardiologists.
Learn more about the specialty of interventional cardiology at Inova