Cardiac (Heart) Catheterization

The Cardiac Catheterization Program at UPMC is one of the largest and most experienced diagnostic and interventional cardiac catheterization programs in the United States.

Our specialists perform more than 21,000 diagnostic and interventional heart catheterization procedures each year.

About Heart Catheterization Procedures

Catheterization procedures involve threading a long tube (catheter) into the arteries to bring miniature cameras and instruments to a disease site in the heart or blood vessels.

Heart catheterization allows doctors to:

  • Evaluate chest pain
  • Identify narrowed or blocked arteries
  • Restore blood flow to threatened heart tissues, without surgery by:
    • Using the catheter to reopen the blocked artery
    • Holding it open with a small, meshwork collar called a stent

UPMC's Cardiac Catheterization Labs

Our state-of-the-art heart catheterization labs provide UPMC specialists with the most modern imaging technology to diagnose and treat cardiovascular diseases.

Our labs are staffed around the clock with specialists in emergency catheterization for treating acutely ill patients, including many who arrive by helicopter from regional community hospitals.

We also offer evaluation and treatment of:

UPMC cardiologists have experience in treating the most difficult cardiac cases using:

  • Stents
  • Intravascular ultrasound
  • Distal embolic protection devices
  • Rotational atherectomy
  • Optical coherence tomography (OCT)

Our interventional cardiologists routinely help in the treatment and evaluation of patients in UPMC's Heart Transplant Program.

They have also begun an active program in treating peripheral arterial disease, including the treatment of:

  • Carotid artery disease
  • Renal artery disease
  • Lower extremity vascular disease

Innovations in Cardiac Catheterization

  • Our Cardiac Catheterization Program is one of the first in the country to use drug-coated stents, which release a drug into the blood-vessel wall that significantly decreases the likelihood of renarrowing.
  • Our cardiologists also have developed a method to totally support heart function in critically ill patients without the use of surgery.
  • We have a dedicated transradial cardiac catheterization program. In select patients, this approach allows for diagnostic and therapeutic cardiac catheterization via the radial artery in the wrist, instead of the traditional leg approach.

Learn more about research at UPMC's Heart and Vascular Institute.

Cardiac Catheterization Program Locations

Find full heart catheterization services at these hospital locations:

Diagnostic-only cardiac catheterizations are offered at:

Recent News

Dr. Joon Lee was quoted in a Tribune-Democrat story about a new partnership that connects Somerset Hospital’s cardiovascular program with UPMC heart doctors.

>> Read the story

Additional Resources

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