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Cardiac Catheterization

Clinical Heart and Vascular Center

The skilled cardiologists at UT Southwestern Medical Center use minimally invasive cardiac catheterization to diagnose and treat a variety of cardiovascular conditions without the need for open-heart surgery.

Advanced Techniques, Remarkable Results

Cardiac catheterization (also called cath) is a minimally invasive procedure in which an interventional cardiologist guides a catheter to the heart and performs diagnostic examinations and treatment procedures.

When heart disease causes heart arteries and valves to become blocked, minimally invasive cardiac catheterization procedures help physicians evaluate the situation, administer drugs, and, when necessary, clear blockages to improve blood flow without open-heart surgery.

UT Southwestern’s expert cardiologists use catheters to replace and repair valves and treat certain conditions, and we’re continually pioneering new ways to use catheter interventions. With a commitment to advancing the field of interventional cardiology, our physicians engage in research related to complex angioplasties and serve on national heart organizations to advocate for the best cardiology care standards in medicine.

Conditions We Treat with Cardiac Catheterization

Many cardiovascular conditions can be successfully treated with a cardiac catheterization procedure, such as:

Symptoms of Heart Conditions

A doctor might order a cardiac catheterization procedure to diagnose or treat a problem in patients who have a heart attack or experience symptoms such as:

  • Chest pain or chest tightness (angina)
  • Pain in the upper body and arms, especially on the left side
  • Jaw pain
  • A feeling of indigestion
  • Nausea, dizziness, or lightheadedness
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath

Cardiac Catheterization Treatments

Cardiac catheterization tests and procedures include:

Cardiac Catheterization: What to Expect

Patients are given local anesthesia prior to cardiac catheterization procedures. Once the area is numb, the cardiologist makes a small puncture in the leg or arm and inserts a tiny flexible tube (catheter) with a camera on its tip into the artery to access the heart through the arterial system.

The doctor uses X-ray imaging to view the catheter and guide it to the site of interest, where the appropriate diagnostic and/or treatment procedures can be performed.

Once the cardiac catheterization procedure is complete, the cardiologist removes all catheters and guidewires and closes the small puncture.

Recovery is usually quick and with minimal pain.

Support Services

UT Southwestern’s cardiac rehabilitation specialists create customized plans that integrate proper nutrition, exercise, and, if necessary, nicotine cessation into patients’ lifestyles to improve their cardiovascular health.

Clinical Trials

As one of the nation’s top academic medical centers, UT Southwestern offers a number of clinical trials aimed at improving the outcomes of patients with cardiovascular disease.

Clinical trials often give patients access to leading-edge treatments that are not yet widely available. Eligible patients who choose to participate in one of UT Southwestern’s clinical trials might receive treatments years before they are available to the public.

Find a Clinical Trial

Search for opportunities to participate in a heart or vascular research study.

StudyFinder

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