Coronary angiography can be performed to diagnose heart problems, plan future therapies, and perform certain procedures.
It could be used in the following ways, for example: after a heart attack – when the heart’s blood supply is cut off – to aid in the diagnosis of angina – pain in the chest caused by a restricted blood supply to the heart – to plan interventional or surgical procedures – such as a coronary angioplasty, in which narrowed or blocked blood vessels are widened.
Coronary angiography is also seen to be the best means of identifying coronary heart disease, which occurs when a buildup of fatty substances in the coronary arteries disrupts the blood supply to the heart.
During the process, a catheter, which is a long, thin, flexible tube, is placed into a blood vessel in your groin or arm.
The catheter tip is guided up to the heart and coronary arteries using X-ray pictures as a guide.
Through the catheter, a particular type of dye called contrast medium is injected, and X-ray images (angiograms) are taken.
The contrast medium is visible on angiograms, revealing the blood arteries through which the fluid flows. This clearly shows any constricted or obstructed blood arteries.
The treatment is often performed under local anaesthesia, so you will be awake during the process, but the area where the catheter is put will be numbed.
After a time of rest and observation, you should be able to leave the hospital on the same day as your coronary angiography. You must arrange for a ride home from a family member or friend.
Most people feel good a day or two after the treatment, however you may feel a little weary and the wound site may be sensitive for up to a week. Bruising might linger for up to two weeks.
Certain activities, such as showering and moving heavy things, are normally discouraged for a day or two after the treatment. Do not drive until you are notified it is safe to do so, which might take up to three days.
While you’re healing, keep an eye out for any signals of trouble.
If the swelling at the site of your cut worsens, or if you feel severe bleeding or circulation difficulties in your limbs, you should seek emergency medical assistance.