Cardiac catheterization

To view blood flow through your heart, your doctor may inject a special dye into your arteries (intravenously).

This is known as an angiogram. The dye is injected into the arteries of the heart through a long, thin, flexible tube (catheter) that is threaded through an artery, usually in the leg, to the arteries in the heart. This procedure is called cardiac catheterization. The dye outlines narrow spots and blockages on the X-ray images. If you have a blockage that requires treatment, a balloon can be pushed through the catheter and inflated to improve the blood flow in your heart. A stent may then be used to keep the dilated artery open.

CT angiography for CAD

CT Scan (Computerized Axial Tomography) consists of many radiographs shot at the same time from different angles. Later, a computer gathers all the images and reconstructs them in only one image, summing up the images obtained from the different angles.

CT is now available to diagnose coronary artery disease. In the past, noninvasive functional tests of the heart were used, such as treadmill tests and nuclear studies, to indirectly assess if there were blockages in the coronary arteries. The only way to directly look at the coronary arteries was via a cardiac catheterization.

While cardiac catherization  and angiography is the standard of reference for evaluation of coronary artery disease, and has a small risk of complications, it is an invasive procedure with substantial costs. A noninvasive technique for the anatomic assessment of coronary arteries is therefore highly desirable.

Unnecessary procedures

In a study, published on-line in the journal Circulation on April 13, 2010, cardiologists were asked under what circumstances they would order a cardiac catheterization. 29% of physicians ordered the test for other than clinical reasons, foremost amongst them malpractice concerns. About 25% of the doctors ordered more tests than were necessary, driving up costs. Others did it because of concerns of what competing colleagues would do in similar circumstances. The cardiologists indicated they rarely ordered a cardiac catheterization for financial reasons.

A full report is not yet available.

How Does Your Heart Work - Anatomy of the Heart, Coronary Arteries

Anatomy | Right Side | Left Side | Interior | Septum | Valves | Conduction | Blood Flow | Coronaries

How your heart works

Your heart is located under the ribcage in the center of your chest between your right and left lungs.A normal, healthy, adult heart is about the size of an average fist:

Heart Projection

Cardiac Medications

This type of treatment includes the following types of medications, that:

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