Coronary catheterization is a special invasive procedure, which is carried out on a patient with ischemic heart disease while planning a surgical intervention. This procedure is used to evaluate the character of damages of coronary arteries, which will help to choose the most optimal ways of further treatment: minimally invasive interventions, such as endermic balloon angioplasty/stenting of coronary arteries or “difficult” operation – сoronary artery bypass surgery.
Coronary catheterization is highly recommended to patients who suffer from ischemic heart disease and who had a heart attack, or in case it is impossible to treat heart angina with drugs.
Coronary catheterization is done under local anesthesia, after which a physician carries out a punction of a large magistral artery on leg or hand. After this, a plastic tube is inserted to the punctured vein. Special catheters are passed through this tube to aorta and then coronary ostia. Through these catheters, a special radiopaque substance is introduced to heart arteries. The substance enters the bloodstream and is being passed to coronary vessels and makes them visible for a special device – angiograph, which shows the results on display. It helps to determine the problem areas and the dimensions of the damage of heart vessels.
Coronary catheterization is not painful for a patient (vessels do not have pain receptors). The patient is conscious and can view the picture of his own coronary arteries, which are displayed onscreen of the angiographic device. The procedures of coronary catheterization and other diagnostic and treatment minimally invasive interventions on vessels are performed by special physicians — roentgen endovascular surgeons.
A patient should not be afraid of coronary catheterization, although sometimes complications can occur: for example, heart rhythm disorders, allergy on contrast substance, arterial thrombosis and etc. But these complications occur very rarely and respond rapidly to treatment.