12 April 2011


What is coronary angiography?
Coronary angiography is an X-ray examination of the blood vessels or chambers of the heart. A very small tube (catheter) is inserted into a blood vessel in your groin or arm. The tip of the tube is positioned either in the heart or at the beginning of the arteries supplying the heart, and a special fluid (called a contrast medium or dye) is injected. This fluid is visible by X-ray, and the pictures that are obtained are called angiograms.
Another name for this test is coronary arteriography.
What are the pros and cons of angiography?
The pros and cons of coronary arteriography vary for every patient. The physician and patient should discuss the specific situation. Often an angiogram is necessary before deciding whether coronary disease needs more treatment.
Coronary angiography is performed to detect obstruction in the coronary arteries of the heart. During the procedure a catheter (thin flexible tube) is inserted into an artery in your arm or groin and then threaded carefully into the heart. The blood vessels of the heart are then studied by injection of contrast media through the catheter. A rapid succession of X-rays (fluoroscopy) is taken to view blood flow.
Insertion of Catheter with Guide Wire
How the test is performed:
Coronary angiography is usually performed in conjunction with cardiac catheterization. You will be given a mild sedative prior to the test to help you relax.
The study is carried out in a laboratory by a trained cardiologist or radiologist and technicians or nurses. An intravenous (IV) line is inserted into one of the blood vessels in your arm or groin after the site has been cleansed and numbed with a local anesthetic.
A catheter is then inserted through the IV and into your blood vessel. The catheter is carefully threaded into the heart using an X-ray machine that produces real-time pictures (fluoroscopy). Once the catheter is in place, contrast material is injected and pictures are taken.
How to prepare for the test:
Food and fluid are restricted 6 to 8 hours before the test. The procedure takes place in the hospital and you will be asked to wear a hospital gown. Sometimes, admission the night before the test is required. Otherwise, you will be admitted as an outpatient or an inpatient the morning of the procedure.
Your health care provider should explain the procedure and its risks. A witnessed, signed consent for the procedure is required.
Tell your doctor if you are allergic to seafood, if you have had a bad reaction to contrast material in the past, if you are taking Viagra, or if you might be pregnant.
Why the test is performed:
Coronary angiography is performed to detect obstruction in the coronary arteries, which can lead to heart attack. It may be performed if you have unstable angina, atypical chest pain, aortic stenosis, or unexplained heart failure. The test may also be performed for other reasons

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