What is Cardiac Catheterization?
Cardiac catheterization is a test to check your heart. This test can include a coronary angiogram, which checks the coronary arteries. Cardiac catheterization checks:
- Blood flow in the coronary arteries
- Blood flow and blood pressure in the chambers of the heart
- How well the heart valves work
- How the wall of the heart moves
In children, this test is used to check for heart problems that have been present since birth (congenital heart defect). A coronary angiogram is used to find out if you have disease in your coronary arteries (atherosclerosis). If you have atherosclerosis, this test can pinpoint the size and location of fat and calcium deposits (plaque) that are narrowing your coronary arteries.
Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is similar to coronary angiogram, but it is used to open up a narrowed coronary artery with special tools. The two common types of PCI are:
- Angioplasty with or without coronary stents
Other tests can be done during cardiac catheterization to find heart problems. An X-ray test called a ventriculogram measures how well blood flows through the left side of your heart. The test looks at the movements of the wall of the left ventricle and the heart valves. Advanced Heart And Vein cardiologists have multiple years of experience performing cardiac catheterization are available in the Denver metro area serving Westminster, Thornton, Broomfield, Brighton and Longmont.
What is Atherosclerosis?
Arteriosclerosis occurs when the blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients from your heart to the rest of your body (arteries) become thick and stiff — sometimes restricting blood flow to your organs and tissues. Healthy arteries are flexible and elastic, but over time, the walls in your arteries can harden, a condition commonly called hardening of the arteries.
Atherosclerosis is a specific type of arteriosclerosis, but the terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Atherosclerosis refers to the buildup of fats, cholesterol and other substances in and on your artery walls (plaque), which can restrict blood flow.
The plaque can burst, triggering a blood clot. Although atherosclerosis is often considered a heart problem, it can affect arteries anywhere in your body. Atherosclerosis may be preventable and is treatable.