A coronary catheterization is a minimally invasive procedure to
access the coronary circulation and blood filled chambers of the
heart using a catheter. It is performed for both diagnostic and
interventional (treatment) purposes. Coronary catheterization is
one of the several cardiology diagnostic tests and procedures.
Specifically, coronary catheterization is a visually interpreted
test performed to recognize occlusion, stenosis, restenosis,
thrombosis or aneurysmal enlargement of the coronary artery lumens;
heart chamber size; heart muscle contraction performance; and some
aspects of heart valve function. Important internal heart and lung
blood pressures, not measurable from outside the body, can be
accurately measured during the test. The relevant problems that the
test deals with most commonly occur as a result of advanced
atherosclerosis -- atheroma activity within the wall of the
coronary arteries. Less frequently, valvular, heart muscle, or
arrhythmia issues are the primary focus of the test. Coronary
artery luminal narrowing reduces the flow reserve for oxygenated
blood to the heart, typically producing intermittent angina.
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