An angiogram/cardiac catheterization is a diagnostic procedure that provides detailed X-ray pictures of the heart and its blood vessels in children and adults. An angiogram will show whether:
- Blood flow to the heart is being restricted by blockages – This finding lets the doctor know if symptoms aren't related to the heart.
- Arteries to the heart are narrowed or blocked, and the exact location, size, and shape of any blockages – This information will allow the doctor to develop an appropriate treatment plan.
This procedure involves a catheter (a small, flexible tube) inserted into the femoral artery in the groin or the radial artery at the wrist, then guided through the arteries to the heart. A special contrast dye is injected into the catheter and the coronary arteries and heart, enabling an X-ray camera to record digital images of the heart and its arteries.
John McLaughlin felt twinges in his chest and went to an interventional cardiologist who recommended a stress test, then a cardiac catheterization to determine the severity of his heart condition.