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Cardiac Catheterization

What is cardiac catheterization?

A cardiac catheterization is a minimally invasive diagnostic test, performed through a small incision. We use this test, along with an angiogram, to detect blockages in the arteries of the heart and diagnose heart disease and heart attack.

How is catheterization done?

Experts will administer medication through an IV to help you relax. We will monitor your blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen level throughout this procedure.

After an anesthetic to numb the area, we make small incision in either your thigh or forearm. We insert a long, thin tube called a catheter into an artery, and then we use a thinner tube known as a guidewire guides the catheter into the various arteries of the heart.

Your physician will track the course of the catheter through the blood vessels by viewing moving x-ray pictures displayed on a screen. This advanced scanning device allows the x-ray images to be enhanced so that problem areas may be clearly and accurately identified.

What is an angiogram?

Cardiac catheterization refers to the catheter insertion, but it is unlikely that you will undergo cardiac catheterization without having an angiogram. An angiogram is an x-ray picture of your heart's arteries. We inject a special dye, known as contrast, into the arteries so that we can take x-rays. We can then use the angiogram to pinpoint the location and severity of coronary artery disease, including blocked arteries and abnormalities in the heart wall. Because it is unlikely that you will undergo cardiac catheterization without having an angiogram, the two terms are used interchangeably.

Technology and expertise at Lee Health

We offer cardiac catherizations at two locations: HealthPark Medical Center in Fort Myers and Gulf Coast Medical Center in Fort Myers.

The cardiac catherization labs at Lee Health are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We are one of the only health systems in the region to perform catheterizations through the arm, using the radial artery approach. We are actively involved in the latest research and able to consistently provide our patients with the most advanced and safest procedures.

Who to contact

For questions related to cardiovascular care or services, email us at


Lee Health's dedicated cardiology team is ready to answer your questions and provide you with award-winning, compassionate care.