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What is arterial blockage?

Coronary arteries are the blood vessels that supply blood directly to your heart muscle. Arterial blockage often can be diagnosed using a cardiac catheterization. Interventional cardiologists diagnose and treat coronary artery diseases and related problems, using advanced minimally invasive cardiac catheterization procedures.


Having major blockages may lead to symptoms such as chest pain (angina) or shortness of breath. Angina may feel like pressure or pain squeezing your chest. You also may feel it in your shoulders, arms, neck, jaw or back. It worsens with activity and fades when you rest. Emotional stress is a pain trigger.


Blockage is caused by buildup of plaque within the artery, which affects the blood flow, causing various arterial symptoms, depending on the area in which the blockage has formed.


A cardiologist inserts a catheter into veins and/or arteries through the leg or arm. The catheters are advanced to the right and/or left sides of the heart. Once the catheters are positioned in the various heart chambers or blood vessels, the pressure of the blood in various chambers of the heart can be measured, blood samples can be taken and dye can be injected (a process called angiography) to allow X-ray visualization. The goal of diagnostic catheterization is to identify and diagnose the specific heart problem. The procedure can become an interventional catheterization if the cardiologist determines that the problem can be treated effectively at the same time.