Left heart catheterization involves the passage of a catheter (a thin flexible tube) into the left side of the heart to obtain diagnostic information about the left side of the heart or to provide therapeutic interventions in certain types of heart conditions. The test can determine pressure and blood flow in the heart's chambers, collect blood samples from the heart, and examine the arteries of the heart by X-ray (fluoroscopy).
Review Date 7/25/2018
Updated by: Michael A. Chen, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.