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The Cardiac Cath learning module is made up of 6 parts or sections. You may navigate through the pages by clicking on the green arrows or numbers (above), the specific questions (below) or the gray menu items on the left.

What is Cardiac Catheterization?
What Preparations are Needed?
How is Cardiac Cath performed?
What do I need to know about the equipment?
What is experienced in the Cath lab?
How long does it take?
What preparations are needed?
What happens after arrival in the cath lab area?
How safe is the procedure?
What is the reliability of the test?
How quickly will I get the results?
Show me a panoramic view of the Cardiac cath lab?

How is Cardiac Cath Performed? (Continued)


  • Insertion of the Sheath

    Insertion of the sheath

    A tubular and flexible plastic sheath that is usually about 2 or 2 1/2 millimeters in diameter (thickness) is advanced over the guide-wire and placed in the artery. This serves as a passage-way or introducer for the insertion of catheters. The sheath has a white plastic "hub" that sits outside the skin. The hub contains a one-way valve that allows catheters to be introduced through the sheath but prevents blood from escaping.

  • Insertion of Catheter
    Insertion of catheter
    Through the sheath, and over a guide-wire, a long soft plastic tube or catheter is inserted and guided towards the heart. An x-ray monitor is used to observe the path of the catheter. Different catheter shapes are used during the procedure.
    Click on the play button to view this, and the subsequent movies.
  • Filming the Coronary Arteries

    Filming the Coronary Arteries

    Working from the groin, the cardiologist rotates and gently manipulates the catheter to guide its tip into the opening of the coronary artery. X-ray movies are then taken during the injection of contrast material. Contrast material or "dye" is injected through the catheter and x-ray pictures are recorded on a movie film. The cardiologists steps on floor pedals to view x-ray images (fluoroscopy) or to film (cine angiograms) portions of the study.
  • Viewing Coronary Arteries From Different Angles


    Different Views of the Coronaries

    A rotating handle sits on the side of the table. By rotating the handle, like that of a motorcycle, and by pressing on levers the cardiologist can rotate the x-ray camera around the patients chest. The camera can be moved from left to right, towards and away from the patient's head, and up and down over the chest.
       This allows different view or rotations of the coronary arteries to be viewed and filmed.
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This Page was Last reviewed on December 18, 2013

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