If you have chest pain or are having a heart attack, you may be a candidate for a cardiac catheterization procedure, in which a thin, flexible tube or catheter is passed into the right or left side of the heart. The procedure is used to diagnose and treat certain types of heart conditions.

In this podcast, David A. Zimrin, M.D., explains how one treatment, angioplasty, opens blocked arteries in the heart and restores normal blood flow and another technique, called stenting, helps keep the arteries open.

Among the topics: why swift treatment of blocked coronary arteries can reduce or eliminate heart damage and how an unusual team effort among interventional cardiologists and cardiac surgeons at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore has shortened patient recovery time.

Dr. Zimrin is a cardiologist and director of the cardiac catheterization laboratory at the University of Maryland Medical Center and an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Speaking with Bill Seiler, he also discusses the expanding use of catheterization techniques to enhance patient care.