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Coronary angiography

Coronary angiography is performed to diagnose blocked arteries of heart and coronary artery disease (heart disease). A special dye and x-ray are used to check the blood flow through the heart of a patient. It is often performed with cardiac catheterization (medical procedure used to diagnose and treat certain heart conditions).

Additional information about the procedure

Preparation for the procedure

  • Patient can get admission in the hospital a night before the procedure
  • Patient should not eat or drink anything 8 hours prior the procedure
  • Inform the physician about any drug allergies

During the procedure

  • Patient will be asked to wear a hospital gown and mild sedatives may be given to ensure relaxation and comfort. The electrodes will be placed on the body to monitor heart rate during the procedure
  • The physician will insert a catheter in the groin or upper thigh, with the guided assistance of a fluoroscope (a special x-ray viewing instrument), and it is advanced up to the opening or the coronary arteries( heart blood vessels)
  • The dye is injected through the catheter into the coronary artery and several produced images (x-ray), known as angiogram, will be taken. The whole procedure may take approximately 30 to 60 minutes
  • Patient may stay awake during procedure and feel some pressure when the catheter is inserted
  • The catheter is removed once the procedure finishes and the insertion site(hole) will be sealed(sutured) or be compressed to prevent bleeding
  • Patient will be transferred to the recovery room and monitored for 2-8 hours. Patient   needs to lie flat on back in bed for few hours after the test to avoid bleeding.

Risk and Complications associated with Coronary Angiography

The procedure is relatively safe when performed by experience physician. However, some risk and complications associated with this procedure include

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Arterial damage
  • Low blood pressure 
  • Compression of the heart
  • Allergic reaction to dye
  • Hemorrhage
  • Heart attack\ Stroke
  • Infection
  • Kidney damage

Uses of the procedure

Coronary angiogram is used for the following:

  • To find the blockage in the coronary arteries and diagnose specific coronary artery diseases such as unstable angina, atypical chest pain, aortic stenosis, or unexplained heart failure
  • To open the blockage found during the procedure through percutaneous coronary intervention or PCI
  • To assist the physician in diagnosing and recommending treatment for appropriate coronary artery diseases

Travelers guide

  • Patients undergoing a coronary angiogram can return home 24 hours post procedure
  • Coronary angiogram is relatively safe procedure and the patient can return to home immediately after the procedure. However, it is always advisable to stay for at least 48 hours post procedure

Related reading

Cabg- Coronary Artery Bypass Graft

Heart Valve Replacement 


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