A diagnostic cardiac catheterization, also called coronary angiography or heart cath, is a procedure that provides detailed information about the function of the heart and blood flow through the arteries. This test is ordered when a blockage is suspected in one or more of the arteries of the heart. X-ray contrast is injected into the heart arteries through a long narrow tube placed into an artery through either the wrist or groin. When no severe blockages are found, the patient will recover over a number of hours and go home the same day.
If a significant blockage is identified, it is typically addressed immediately. The patient will then recover overnight while in the hospital and go home the following day.