Cardiac catheterization is used to investigate the structure and function of the heart. Coronary Angiogram is used to investigate for any narrowing of the coronary arteries (arteries that supply blood to heart muscle). When indicated, percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) can be performed at the same setting of cardiac catheterization and coronary angiogram.
Cardiac catheterization can provide in-depth and specific information of various cardiac diseases. Coronary angiogram can provide a clear picture of the severity of narrowing of coronary arteries. In general, both are superior to non-invasive procedures and can help doctor make a definite plan of management. In emergency situation caused by acute coronary syndrome (heart attack), the procedure is essential in diagnosis. It is also a stepping stone to coronary intervention, which serves to open up the artery and improve the heart function. This approach, despite its high risk, can be life saving and the consequence can be detrimental if it is delayed.