Cardiac catheterisation is a diagnostic procedure that is used to assess different components of the heart. A complete procedure includes imaging of the coronary vessels (the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle), measuring the function of the left ventricle, measuring the pressures within all the different heart chambers and the major blood vessels attached to the heart.
The study involves the use of a dye that is visible on x-rays. The dye is injected via small tubes called catheters that are passed up to the heart via the artery and vein located at the top of the leg. The use of local anaesthetic at this site makes the procedure virtually painless. A small dose of sedation can be given but most patients do not require this. The information derived from this procedure allows planning of further treatment.