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Coronary Angiography: What to expect

Tuesday, August 29th 2017. | Coronary Angiography


Coronary angiography is a medical imaging technique used to visualise the insides of the arteries, veins, and chambers of the the heart. A radio-opaque contrast agent is injected into the blood vessel and images created. The image of the blood vessels is called an angiogram.
Angiography is carried out to check for any blockages in the coronary arteries because of atherosclerosis. The procedure normally takes between half an hour to two hours. You can usually go home the same day.Patient in hospital

Before having the angiogram, you will be asked to visit the hospital for a check up. The doctor will take your medical history. He will ask whether you suffer from any allergies. You will also need to tell him about the medications that you are on as some may need to be stopped before the test. You will be examined physically and might need to undergo some blood tests.

The doctor will apprise you as to what the procedure involves and the risks involved. You will be advised not to eat anything for a few hours bore the angiography especially if you opt to take a sedative.

The angiography will be carried out in the hospital Radiology department on the appointed day. You will need to change into a hospital sterile gown and lie down on the table. You will not be adminisPlaque Arterytered any general anaesthetic.


A local anaesthetic will be administered in the skin near your groin or wrist. Next, a small cut will be made over one of the big arteries. A catheter or long flexible tube will then be inserted into the artery and guided towards the heart. You may feel some sensations of the catheter travelling through your arteries but usually there is no pain.


Next, the contrast agent or dye will be injected through the catheter. This will cause a sensation of warmth or heat over your body as the dye travels. You might feel like you need to pass urine.

A number of X-rays will be taken as the dye flows through the blood vessels of the heart. If required a balloon or stent may be inserted at the same time to treat any blockages that are detected. This is known as angioplasty.


The catheter is then removed. Pressure is placed on the cut to stop any ble


eding. Stitches are not required.

After the test, you’ll be wheeled into a recovery ward. You will have to lie still for a few hours to prevent bleeding from the cut.

The contrast dye will be flushed out of your system through your kidneys. So drinking lots of water will help flush it out faster.

You’ll usually be able to go home the same day, although sometimes you may need to stay in hospital overnight. Some bruising and soreness will remain for a few days.

You may return to your regular routine from the next day itself. However, you should avoid lifting any weights or any other strenuous activity for a couple more days.

The results of the test may be clear and given to you before you go home. Sometimes, the angiogram needs to be studied in detail and the results may not be available for a few weeks.

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