Coronary angiography is performed in an X-ray lab (known as the Catheterisation Lab).  A small calibre plastic tube (known as catheter) is positioned non-surgically through the skin in the groin or the wrist into an artery (figure 1).  The catheter is then moved without pain to the heart and contrast injection is delivered to the arteries that supply the heart muscles.  This allows the cardiologist to delineate and study the coronary arteries in great details and to determine if there are significant narrowings or blockages of the arteries (figure 2, figure 3).


Figure 1f1
Figure 2. Coronary angiogram showing the right coronary artery (left panel) and the left coronary system (right panel)f2
Figure 3. Rotational angiography using specialised computerised program to see the right coronary artery in 180 degrees panning motion


Cardiac catheterisation is performed in the same way as coronary angiography. The catheter is passed into the chambers of heart to find out detailed information about the structures of heart e.g. heart valves and measure pressures and oxygenation of the various heart chambers and large blood vessels of the heart. This procedure helps your cardiologist to precisely identify the heart problem(s) and make important decision(s) on the most appropriate cardiovascular therapy.