Procedure

Coronary Angiogram- Cardiology

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A coronary angiogram is a test to view the heart so that the doctor can see its condition. It is a form of x-ray that focuses on the heart’s arteries.

The results of this test can enable a doctor to choose a specialized treatment dependent on the heart condition. These treatments may include angioplasty (stents), bypass graft surgery or medications.      

Why is a coronary angiogram required?

Coronary angiography is recommended for the following conditions

  • Abnormal heart stress test
  • Angina for the first time
  • Aortic stenosis or other valve problems
  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Heart procedures and if you are at high risk for coronary artery disease
  • Chest pain, when other tests are normal
  • Unstable angina

Which doctor to consult?

Talk to a cardiologist, who will explain to you about the procedure, the risks and after-care.

What to expect during a coronary angiogram

A coronary angiography is commonly done alongside cardiovascular catheterization. A mild sedative is administered before the procedure begins.

Anesthesia is needed to numb the arm and the groin. A catheter is then inserted through an artery and carefully moved up into the heart. To help your cardiologist correctly position the cathether, x-ray images are needed. Dye (contrast material) is injected into the catheter to help your doctor highlight any blockages in blood flow. Again, x-ray images are recommended to see how the dye moves through the artery.

A coronary angiogram can be successfully done within 30-60 minutes.

Complications

Coronary Angiogram may have the following minor complications, though rare:

  • Bleeding under the skin at the wound site
  • Bruising
  • Hypersensitivity to the contrast dye used

Serious complications of Coronary Angiogram are uncommon. If you have concerns about risks and benefits, seek your doctor’s advice and they will discuss with you more about your medical condition.

References

  • How wide are your arteries?. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.heartfoundation.org.nz/your-heart/heart-tests/coronary-angiography
  • NIH (2019). Coronary angiography: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003876.htm
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