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Heart Catheterization

Heart catheterization is a procedure that helps diagnose and treat heart disease. AnMed Health Heart and Vascular Center has four state-of-the art heart catheterization labs and treats more than 3,000 patients each year.

A heart catheterization is a procedure in which a long, thin, flexible tube called a catheter is placed in a blood vessel in your arm or groin then threaded to your heart. The doctor will put a special type of dye in the catheter. The dye flows directly into the coronary arteries (the arteries that provide blood to the heart muscle). The doctor then takes x-rays of the heart, and the dye makes the coronary arteries visible in the pictures. If there are blockages or signs of coronary artery disease, it will show up in these x-rays.

Cardiologists can also use ultrasound during a heart catheterization to determine the degree of blockages in the coronary arteries. Ultrasound uses sound waves to create detailed pictures of the heart's blood vessels. These ultrasound images give doctors a picture from the inside of the artery in addition to the angiogram pictures. These additional images will help the physician decide on treatment.

If the doctor finds a significant blockage, he or she may insert a stent to keep the artery open.