A Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory is a specially designed theatre where tests and procedures regarding the heart and circulatory system take place. Patients will usually be awake for procedures taking place in the Cardiac Catheterisation lab as these tend to be minimally invasive in nature and require only local anaesthetic.

The Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory is staffed by an experienced multidisciplinary team which include Consultant Cardiologists and Electrophysiologists as well as Cardiac Physiologists, Radiographers and Cardiac Clinical Nurse Specialists. The principal procedures performed in the Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory are detailed below:

Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory Procedures

Coronary Angiogram

A coronary angiogram is an invasive test using contrast (X-ray dye) and x-ray to see if the coronary arteries which supply the blood to your heart, are narrowed or blocked. It involves placing a small plastic tube or catheter in an artery in the wrist or groin.

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Angioplasty & Coronary Stenting

Angioplasty is a specialist treatment which opens a narrowed or blocked coronary artery on the surface of your heart.

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Right Heart Catheterisation (RHC)

A RHC is carried out to see how well or poorly your heart is pumping, and to measure the pressures in your heart and lungs.

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A pacemaker is a device used to prevent your heart going too slow and to help your heart beat faster when it needs to.

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Loop Recorder

A Loop Recorder is a type of heart-monitoring device that records your heart rhythm continuously for up to three years. It records the electrical signals of your heart and allows remote (home) monitoring by way of a small device inserted just beneath the skin of the chest. 

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Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD)

An ICD is a small electrical device that monitors the rhythm of your heartbeat. When it detects an abnormal rhythm (arrhythmia) it works to restore the normal heartbeat. The ICD will have 1, 2 or 3 leads attached to a box/generator that will sit in your heart and it delivers an internal shock.

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Electrophysiology Study (EPS)

An EPS is an invasive procedure to understand the electrical activity of your heart.

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Transcatheter Aortic Valve Insertion (TAVI)

A Transcatheter Aortic Valve Insertion (TAVI) is an alternative, less invasive procedure to replace the aortic valve than surgery. This involves passing a valve into the heart using X-ray and echocardiography guidance. The valve is usually inserted through the femoral arteries in the groin and fitted inside the defective aortic valve.

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Cardioversion is a procedure which restores the hearts normal rhythm from an abnormal rhythm. A controlled electrical shock is delivered to your heart which passes through the heart muscle and restores the heart beat to a normal and controlled rhythm

Most elective Cardioversions are performed to treat disorganised, irregular heart beating such as Atrial Fibrillation or Atrial Flutter.

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Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) Closure

The Foramen Ovale is a small flap between the upper two chambers of the heart called the atria. Everyone is born with this hole/flap and it remains open/patent in 25% of people after birth. In rare cases, a small blood clot can travel from the right side of the heart through the PFO to the left side of the heart and then to the brain, causing a stroke. When indicated an occluder device can be used to close this PFO.

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Percutaneous Left Atrial Appendage Occlusion

The left atrial appendage is pouch that hangs from the left upper chamber of the heart. Atrial fibrillation is the most common abnormal heart rhythm. It is associated with an increased risk of stroke due to blood clots. This is treated with anticoagulation medication such as Warfarin or one of the newer anticoagulants. However, the increased risk of serious bleeding complications prevents some patients from taking such medication. An alternative treatment is to place a 'plug' in the left atrial appendage (pouch) where a clot is most likely (80–90% of the time) to occur. The plug or occlusion device stops blood from entering the appendage reducing the risk of clot formation and therefore stroke.

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Discharge Information for TAVI Patients

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