Cardiovascular system Cardiac catheterization and coronary angiography

Cardiac catheterization: The catheterization is an exam where a catheter is inserted in the arterial system (usually by the femoral artery, in the groin) until the desired place. The contrast agent injection inside the vessel to be study is called as angiography.

When the studied arteries are the ones of the heart (coronaries), the exam is called as coronary angiography. Even now, it is the best exam to show the coronary arteries in detail and to plan a coronary angioplasty or a myocardial revascularization surgery (coronary artery bypass). It is an invasive exam, but it is performed without need for hospitalization and the patient must stay not flexing the leg for about 6 hours after the exam, due to the risk of bleeding in the puncture site.

Figure 1. Coronary angiography

Support notes

Angioplasty: Dilation with balloon of an artery narrowed by fat plaques. Click here to go to the page of Angioplasty and to know more about this subject.

Myocardial revascularization surgery: Cardiac surgery where a bypass is made over the narrowed or obstructed place. So improving the blood and oxygen flow to the heart.