Heart Catheterization

Also known as: cardiac catheterization.

What is heart catheterization?

Heart catheterization is a medical procedure that determines how well your heart is working. It can be used to measure blood flow and pressure. It can also inject the heart with dye for an X-ray image. It’s performed with a tool inserted into the heart.

What happens during the test? 

After taking medication, a sheath is inserted into a blood vessel, usually in the groin area. Through this sheath, a long tube called a catheter is threaded through the vessel to the heart. Through the catheter, various other instruments can be inserted to conduct tests on the heart.  

Is any special preparation needed? 

You usually need to avoid food and drink for 6 to 8 hours before the procedure. You might also need to stop taking certain medicines based on your doctor’s advice.

What are the risk factors? 

Bruises can occur where the catheter is inserted. If contrast dye is used, some people can experience itchiness, upset stomach or hives as an allergic reaction to the dye.

Heart Catheterization at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital: Medical professionals at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital use heart catheterization and a variety of other tests to diagnose and monitor potential heart conditions.

Reviewed by: Lourdes Rosa Prieto, MD

This page was last updated on: 8/9/2018 11:15:33 AM

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The Heart Program at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital provides electrocardiogram (EKG) screenings to children and young adults in the community at no cost. The use of an EKG is critical to help diagnose asymptomatic heart defects that may not otherwise be detected in a routine physical exam. Learn more.