What Is a Cardiac Cath?

Simply described, an angiogram is a picture of an artery.  To capture the image the blood needs to be replaced with x-ray dye to make it visible to x-rays.  There are two ways in which these images can be obtained, one is by cardiac catheterization. This requires the insertion of a tube (catheter) into an artery under local anaesthetic and sedation.  The artery is usually the radial artery which is found at the pulse in the wrist near the base of the thumb.  An alternative option is the femoral artery which can be found at the top of the leg level with the hip joint.

The tube is passed back up the artery to the heart from which the blood is coming.  It is then carefully engaged into each of the coronary arteries and the x-ray dye injected while an x-ray movie is digitally recorded.

The information can be reviewed, looking for regions where flow of the x-ray dye down the artery is restricted.  As the images do not show the vessel wall, but essentially the hole down the middle of the vessel, these blockages often appear like the vessel is “pinched”.

What to do about a blocked artery?

You can read more about Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) and Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery (CABGS).

Related Conditions and Procedures

What is Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT)?

OCT images the coronary arteries using high-definition light images

What Is Intravascular Ultrasound (IVUS)?

IVUS images the coronary arteries using high-definition ultrasound images

What Is Fractional Flow Reserve (FFR)?

Fractional Flow Reserve measures the pressure beyond a coronary blockage to assess the severity.

What Is Coronary Artery Disease?

Coronary artery disease is the process that causes blockages in the coronary arteries