In the Cardiac Catheterization Lab, you are placed on cardiac monitors. You receive a local anesthetic at the site of catheterization and a mild sedative to help you relax. You remain awake during the procedure.
Your cardiologist will thread a catheter—a thin, flexible tube—through a blood vessel in your wrist (radial artery) or groin (femoral artery). The physician carefully advances the catheter into your heart and its arteries using X-ray guidance. Through the catheter, the physician can measure pressures and take blood samples.
The cardiologist injects a contrast dye through the catheter into the heart’s blood vessels and chambers. The cardiologist can view the movement of the dye through your heart and coronary arteries to identify any areas of narrowing or blockage. This portion of the test is called coronary angiography.
The cardiac catheterization team also performs a ventriculography, in which dye is injected into the heart’s pumping chambers to provide a view of the heart’s pumping action.