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Cardiac Catheterization

Experienced Cardiac Catheterization Lab

Since the early 1990s, Centegra Health System has been performing cardiac catheterization at Centegra Hospital-McHenry. The program has expanded to include three state-of-the-art cath labs throughout McHenry County capable of providing the highest-quality procedures. With the support of extensively experienced cardiologists and clinical staff, Centegra offers the following cardiac catheterization procedures:

  • Transradial cardiac catheterizations
  • Angioplasty
  • Diagnostic catheterizations (angiography)

The Centegra Catheterization Lab team is the most experienced in McHenry County, performing more than 1,200 cardiac catheterizations and 400 angioplasty procedures each year.

What is a Cardiac Catheterization?

Cardiac catheterization is used to diagnose and treat a number of heart conditions, such as coronary artery disease, heart valve disease, and heart muscle disease. Cardiac catheterizations are minimally invasive procedures that use medical imaging to help physicians identify and clear blockages in the heart with balloons or coronary stents.

Transradial Catheterization

The traditional approach to cardiac catheterization uses the femoral artery in the groin as the entry point for the catheter. For some patients, including those struggling with peripheral artery disease or women with smaller arteries, the transradial approach to cardiac catheterization is safer. In this alternative method, the catheter is inserted into the heart through the radial artery in the wrist. Benefits to the radial artery approach include:

  • Fewer complications
  • Less bleeding
  • Faster recovery times


Coronary angioplasty is a non-surgical treatment that opens blocked or narrowed passages in one or more of the coronary arteries. This procedure allows a normal supply of blood to flow through the heart muscle. A physician inserts a tiny balloon through a small tube and gently inflates it, opening the blockage and restoring blood flow to the heart. Some patients have benefited from coronary angioplasty on its own, while others have required the use of stents, or tiny metal “scaffoldings,” to hold the arteries open after blockages have been cleared to allow for improved blood flow.


Angiography is a minimally invasive procedure performed by a highly qualified cardiologist in one of three cardiac catheterization labs at Centegra. The physician inserts a small tube into a blood vessel, injects a contrast fluid (dye) to highlight the blood vessels, and captures images of the highlighted vessels using medical imaging.