Written by Padma Sundareson | 
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Sunil Shroff, MBBS, MS, FRCS (UK), D. Urol (Lond) on Apr 05, 2018


Cardiac catheterization is a radiological procedure for both diagnosis and treatment of heart conditions. It involves the insertion of a long thin flexible tube called catheter a vein or an artery to the heart.

The common insertion site for the catheters are groin, arm or neck. An interventional cardiologist can do this procedure. It is performed in a sterile "catheterization laboratory" or "Cath lab". During catheteriztion, contrast material (also called dye) is injected and X-ray images can be viewed live or recorded for future references.

Cardiac catheterization can be done at any age, including for new borns. The procedure approximately takes an hour or more depending on the condition for which it is performed. In the United states, more than one million Americans have angiograms and cardiac catheterization done every year. More than half of these patients have angioplasty or bypass surgery to improve blood supply to their heart.

Claude Bernard was the first to catheterize a horse in the 19th century.

The first person to try and insert a catheter into a human heart was Werner Forssmann, in 1929. He had performed this act on himself under the guidance of fluoroscopy. Back then, it was considered a disapproving act until 1956 when he was recognized and awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology along with André Cournand and Dickinson W. Richards.

What is new in Cardiac Catheterization / Coronary Angiogram?

1. Smartphones may Prove to be a Fail Safe Assessment Tool for Angioplasty

Smartphone applications can be used to assess ulnar artery blood flow in patients who are scheduled for coronary angiography or cardiac catheterization, finds a new study. Blood flow in ulnar artery is usually assessed to select the best angioplasty approach for patients. Smart phone camera can act as a photoplethysmograph which can assess the availability of adequate blood flow in patients scheduled for cardiac catheterization via ulnar artery access.


  1. Effect of Transradial Access on Quality of Life and Cost of Cardiac Catheterization: A randomized Comparison. Christopher J. Cooper, MD, Reda A. El-Shiekh, MD, David J. Cohen, MD, MSc, Linda Blaesing, RN, Mark W. Burket, MD, Asish Basu, MD, etal. Am Heart J 138(3):430-436, 1999.
  2. The effect of early education on patient anxiety while waiting for elective cardiac catheterization. Harkness K, Morrow L, Smith K, Kiczula M, Arthur HM. European journal of cardiovascular nursing: journal of the Working Group on Cardiovascular Nursing of the European Society of Cardiology 2003 July.
  3. Indications for and objectives of cardiac catheterization in aortic valve disease. A D Johnson. West J Med. 1977 June; 126(6): 471–473. - (http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1237633)
  4. Information About Cardiac catheterization - (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003419.htm)
  5. Cardiac Catheterization and Coronary Angiogram - (http://www.cpmc.org/services/cardiac/card-cath.html)
  6. http://www.clevelandclinic.org/heartcenter/pub/guide/webchat/ellis052507.htm - (Interventional Procedures - Questions and Answers about Stents, Angioplasty and New Approaches to Treat Heart Disease — May 25, 2007)
  7. Cardiac Catheterization FAQs - (http://www.hfmhealth.org/card-cath-faq.htm)

Latest Publications and Research on Cardiac Catheterization


vaishali9524 Wednesday, July 2, 2014

What are the complications occurred during Cardiac catheterization?

agila5 Monday, November 18, 2013


drbhargavi Sunday, April 22, 2012

if the creatine level is 4.6 then can we go for angiogram.....if it is must and should then what will be the other alternative...please reply..

doctorJ Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What is the average time for patient to stay in hospital on observation after cardiac Catheterization that is paid and covered by Horizon Blue Cross and other commercial insurance companies? BCBS does even pay for 24 hours for patient stay after cardiac cath. What is medical view on the issue? Favour of your response is appreciated. Email: Doctorwellness@aol.com

accountage Friday, September 23, 2011

i am feeling leg pain and swelling on both the legs is it a symptom of heart patient ?

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