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Medical procedure used to diagnose and treat heart conditions. A long, thin, flexible tube, called a catheter is put into a blood vessel in your arm or groin. This tube is then threaded into your heart. Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. nhlbi.nih.gov Your doctor numbs the area where the catheter will enter your blood vessel. A needle is used to make a small hole in the blood vessel into which a tapered tube called a sheath is placed Your doctor puts a thin, flexible wire through the sheath and into your blood vessel. The doctor threads this guide wire through your blood vessels up to your heart. The wire helps your doctor position the catheter correctly. Your doctor then puts a catheter through the sheath and slides it over the guidewire and up into the heart Your doctor moves the catheter into the right/left coronary artery or into the heart cambers. Once the catheter is in the correct spot, the guidewire is removed. using the catheter, your doctor can tests or treat problems. Your doctor will put a special dye into the catheter. This dye makes the inside of coronary arteries or other heart structures show up on an e-ray image, called an angiogram After the tests or procedure, your doctor pulls back the catheter and removes it and the sheath. LifeART Collection Images Copyright © 1989-2001 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore, MD Cardiac Catheterization