What are the Current Risks of Cardiac Catheterization?
- Michel E. BertrandEmail Michel E. Bertrand
Since the first heart catheterization performed by Werner Forssmann on himself in 1929, this technique has undergone an extraordinary expansion and widespread application. Today, several million heart catheterizations are performed throughout the world each year. Heart catheterization is not only a fantastic investigative tool that provides precise information regarding anatomy and physiology, but it also offers a number of important and very effective interventions. Forssmann imagined heart catheterization as a delivery mechanism for drugs to enhance their efficacy, and heart catheterization has indeed become, in a large number of cases, a therapeutic tool.
Cardiac catheterizations are performed in a large number of centers worldwide, and the complication rate is low. Nevertheless, zero risk does not exist in medicine. This analysis focuses on the procedural risks of cardiac catheterization and coronary angiography but does not discuss the risks related to specific interventions (e.g., the risks of stent implantation, atherectomy, or systemic anaphylactoid reactions to iodinated contrast media). Actually, vital risks of heart catheterization are very rare, and most complications are related to the access site.
- Published on 1 Jan 2011
- Peer Reviewed