Indications for the procedure include the following:

  • Angina that is not easily controlled with medication, that disrupts daily routine, occurs at rest, or recurs after heart attack
  • Heart failure with suspected coronary artery disease
  • Heart valve disease with symptoms (e.g., shortness of breath)
  • Markedly abnormal stress test results
  • Recurring chest pain of unidentified cause

Not everyone with angina needs a cardiac catheterization. Patients who have very rare or easily controlled episodes of angina may desire to continue with medical therapy rather than undergo angioplasty or bypass surgery. Many patients who have suffered a heart attack can initially undergo a stress test rather than cardiac catheterization.

Cardiac catheterization usually is not performed in patients who have infrequent episodes of angina (chest pain) or angina that is easily controlled.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 30 Jun 2001

Last Modified: 18 Sep 2015