CardioSpecialists Group, Ltd.
About Your Coronary Angiogram
Also called: Coronary Angiography, Coronary Arteriogram, Angiocardiography
What Is a Coronary Angiogram?
A coronary angiogram is an x-ray of the coronary arteries--the arteries on the surface of the heart. This test reveals any arteries that are blocked by fatty deposits called plaque.
Often, a coronary angiogram is performed along with other tests.
How Is the Procedure Performed?
A coronary angiogram, a physician injects a liquid dye into the arteries on the surface of the heart. The physician uses a tiny tube called a catheter into a blood vessel (typically in the upper leg) and guides the catheter through the vessel until the catheter reaches the heart. You, the patient, will be awake during the procedure, unless you have special needs. We administer a mild sedative to you during the procedure. Generally, angiogram patients cannot feel the catheter as it moves through the body.
The dye is a contrast medium, which then enables an x-ray of the heart to reveal the pattern of blood travel through the coronary arteries. The photograph above shows an x-ray taken during an angiogram procedures. The dark areas are blood vessels. The dark irregularly shaped area in the photograph indicates a condition requiring treatment.
The angiogram may reveal a condition requiring treatment. Treatments may include medication, or further procedures such as balloon angioplasty, stenting, or surgery.
After the Test
After the procedure, you are likely to feel groggy from the sedative. You will be taken to bed for two to eight hours where you will lie with your legs straight.
The area on the thigh where the catheter was inserted will likely be sore and bruised.
Your doctor will give you post-procedure instructions regarding exercise and heavy lifting, care of the thigh incision point and possible medications.
Is It Safe?
As with any invasive or minimally invasive procedure, there are risks. Your physician will discuss with you the risks attendant to the angiogram procedure.