Angina is the symptom of chest pain that is attributed to a lack of oxygen in the heart muscle. People with coronary artery disease may develop angina when their hearts are put under stress and their arteries limit the amount of blood that can make it to certain areas of the heart. A classic story for angina is someone with cardiovascular risk factors (such as an older male smoker with high cholesterol and diabetes) who states they get chest pain after walking 2 blocks. This pain is usually reproducible, meaning it comes every time this person walks 2 blocks, and gets better with rest.
Cardiac catheterization is the actual procedure used by interventional cardiologists
to determine what the insides of the coronary arteries look like. With this procedure, a catheter is introduced through a vessel in the groin, and is then snaked up through the aorta close to the heart, where the coronary arteries originate. Dye is injected into the arteries, and pictures are taken with continuous x-ray
(fluoroscopy). The doctors
can see which vessels appear blocked or diseased, and can use different techniques to open up the vessels and allow for better blood flow.