Heart Disease Home > Heart Catheterization Procedure

Several different heart conditions can cause similar symptoms, such as chest pain, lightheadedness, breathing problems, or fainting spells. Thus, if you are experiencing such problems, a procedure called a cardiac catheterization may be performed on your heart to discover the possible cause, as well as likely treatment options.
During a cardiac catheterization, your healthcare provider will analyze the condition of your heart muscle, valves, and arteries. This can help detect problems such as blocked or narrowed arteries. A catheter (a flexible, narrow tube) is inserted into your arm or leg and carefully guided through the arteries to your heart. Then, a special dye is injected, and images will show up clearly on an x-ray screen, identifying any problems.
(Click Cardiac Catheterization to learn more about this procedure, including exactly what happens, what to expect afterward, and possible complications.)
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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