The purpose of a cardiac catheterization is essentially to find out if one has disease in one’s coronary arteries, if there are valvular problems present, if there are abnormal pressures in the heart, or if there are other heart defects. If disease is found in the coronary arteries, this test can determine the size and location. The results from a cardiac catheterization can help the physician know how to best treat the patient. The cardiac catheterization is performed in a cardiac cath lab suite. Once the patient enters the suite, the patient is put on a flat X-ray table. The patient is put on an electrocardiogram machine, which continuously records the electrical activity of the patient’s heart during the procedure. After prepping the patient, a local anesthetic is injected into the skin at the insertion site—whether it is the femoral artery, brachial artery, or the radial artery. Then a sheath, a thin flexible tube, is inserted in the artery. Once arterial access is obtained, a catheter can be passed into the blood vessel and moved into various positions in the heart's vessels and chambers while the physician can obtain an angiographic picture or pictures of the heart arteries and chambers of the heart.
III. What is Nephropathy?
Contrast-induced nephropathy is a 25 percent or more increase in the
serum creatinine after a radiographic examination using a contrast
agent. This is a serious problem. Nephropathy is
considered to be a common complication in angiographic procedures.