Cardiac Catheterization

Cardiac Catheterization

What is it?

To deliver dye to the coronary arteries, cardiac catheterization is used. Cardiac catheterization is a test doctors use to diagnose and treat coronary artery disease. Cardiac catheterization is used with other tests such as angiography, arteriography, and electrophysiology studies (EPS). The test can identify the size and location of plaque that are narrowing the coronary arteries and causing atherosclerosis.

How does it work?

Doctors perform a cardiac catheterization procedure in which a long, thin tube (called a catheter) is put into an artery in the leg and threaded into the heart. Once the catheter is in place in the heart, a dye is injected through the catheter and into the heart. The dye helps doctors see how the heart chambers and the coronary arteries are working. The movement of the dye through your heart and coronary arteries is recorded as an angiogram and viewed on a television monitor.

Reasons for Cardiac Catheterization

If coronary artery disease is present, cardiac catheterization is used to determine whether bypass surgery will be done, or a procedure such as angioplasty or stenting. Cardiac catheterization is performed to check:

  • Blood flow and blood pressure in the chambers of the heart
  • Blood flow in the coronary arteries
  • Pumping action of the heart
  • Severity of congenital heart defect
  • How well the heart valves work

What to Expect

Cardiologists usually perform cardiac catheterizations in a hospital. You’re awake during cardiac catheterization. The procedure usually causes little to no pain, although you may feel some soreness in the blood vessel where your doctor put the catheter.

Cardiac catheterization rarely causes serious complications.

Where to Go


St. Luke's University Hospital - Bethlehem Campus
B Entrance at Main Lobby/Centennial Wing
801 Ostrum Street
Bethlehem, PA 18015

Maps & Directions


St. Luke's Hospital – Allentown Campus
1736 Hamilton Street
Allentown, PA 18104

Maps & Directions


St. Luke's Hospital - Anderson Campus
1872 Riverside Circle
Easton, PA 18045

St. Luke's Heart & Vascular