Diagnosing Heart Attacks
Cardiac Catheterization With Angiography
During a cardiac catheterization, a thin flexible tube (catheter) is passed through an artery in the groin or arm to reach the coronary arteries. This test allows your doctor to:
- Determine pressure and blood flow in the heart's chambers
- Collect blood samples from the heart
- Examine the arteries of the heart by x-ray.
An angiography may also be performed during a cardiac catheterization. During a coronary angiography, a dye that can be seen on x-ray images is injected through the catheter into the coronary arteries. Your doctor can see the flow of blood through the heart and see where there are blockages.
Summary of Diagnosing Heart Attacks
A heart attack is a life-threatening event. Diagnosing a heart attack early is vital to saving heart muscle. The longer the heart goes without oxygen and nutrients, the greater the damage will be and the higher the risk for sudden death.
Diagnosing heart attacks can begin once emergency medical personnel arrive after you call 911. Don't put off calling 911 just because you aren't sure if you are having a heart attack.