Cardiac Catheterization

Cardiac catheterization tests or treats your heart in a minimally invasive way. When you get this type of care at Johnston Health in Smithfield, you’ll recover as quickly as possible with almost no scarring.

What to Expect

Before your procedure, you receive medicine to sedate (relax) you and prevent pain. Then, a doctor called an interventional cardiologist inserts a catheter (tiny tube) into an artery. Using a video X-ray machine to see inside your blood vessels, the doctor threads the catheter and other tiny medical tools up to your heart.

Insertion Site

In most cases, the doctor needs to insert the catheter into the femoral artery in your upper thigh. But you may ask the cardiologist if they can insert the catheter through the radial artery in your wrist. If you qualify for radial access, you’ll recover more quickly.

Cath Lab Procedures

You’ll receive excellent care in Johnston Health’s cardiac cath lab, a special room with advanced technology for interventional (catheterization) procedures.

Tests & Monitoring

  • Angiogram – Shows blood flow through certain vessels and looks for blockages
  • CardioMEMS™ insertion – Delivers a miniature device to an artery to monitor heart failure
  • Electrophysiology (EP) study – Measures the heart’s electrical activity at the time of the test
  • Loop recorder implantation – Places a tiny device under the skin to record the heart’s electrical activity long-term


  • Ablation – Makes tiny scars in heart tissue to prevent irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias)
  • Biventricular pacemaker implantation – Places a small device in your chest to make both heart chambers pump normally
  • Cardioversion – Restores the heart’s rhythm to a normal pace
  • Pacemaker placement – Inserts a small device in your chest to steady your heartbeat
  • Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) – Inflates a tiny balloon in a clogged artery to widen the path for blood flow
  • Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) – Uses a small device in your chest to steady your heartbeat and shock it back to a normal rhythm if you experience a life-threatening arrhythmia

Talk to Your Doctor

If your doctor refers you to UNC Health Johnston for cardiovascular care, ask your doctor’s office to schedule an appointment for you.

Related Locations