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Coronary Angiography- All You Need to Know

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Coronary Angiography- All You Need to Know

Cardiology | by Dr. Subhendu Mandal | Published on 19/02/2022


Introduction

In the era of modern medicine, coronary angiography is a name that has evolved as an important tool to assess heart health and detect possible cardiovascular problems. It is a minimally invasive procedure that assists medical experts to view coronary arteries and look for blockages or anomalies that might involve heart function. If your coronary arteries are blocked, there are chances you might be recommended for coronary angiography. If you suspect any heart-related condition, it is recommended to get in touch with a renowned cardiac service like BM Birla Heart Research Centre. You will receive a timely diagnosis with suitable treatment for your health requirements. 

In this blog, we are going to discuss the complexities of coronary angiography and explore the procedure, benefits, and other important considerations.

What is coronary angiography?

Coronary angiography is a procedure that helps in identifying coronary artery blockage. The procedure is performed by injecting contrast into the arteries with the use of a catheter. The doctor keeps a watch on how blood is flowing through the heart on an X-ray screen. The doctor will order a coronary angiography then which means that he/she suspects that the patient is at risk of heart attack or have unstable angina, unexplained heart failure, or aortic stenosis. This test is also referred to as cardiac angiogram, cardiac catheterization, and catheter arteriography. 

Why is the coronary angiography test performed? 

A coronary angiography test is used for diagnosing heart-related conditions, assisting the doctor with planning future treatments, and carrying out some procedures. It is often used: 

  • When an individual experiences a heart attack i.e. when the supply of blood to the heart is blocked. 
  • When a person is experiencing chest pain which is caused by limited supply of blood to the heart. It helps in diagnosing angina efficiently. 
  • With coronary angiography, it is easier to plan the procedures that are interventional or surgical like coronary angioplasty which is used for treating blood vessels that are blocked or narrowed. 

Coronary angiography is also among the finest methods to diagnose coronary heart disease where an accumulation of fatty substances in the coronary arteries involves affecting the supply of blood in the heart.

How to prepare for a coronary angiography?

Before a coronary angiography test, doctors usually involve using an MRI or a CT scan to detect heart-related issues. After that, it is recommended not to eat or drink anything before the test for around eight hours. It is also suggested to the patient that someone should come along so that they can drive the patient home or at least have someone in the hospital stay the night after the test. The reason being all of this suggested is that the patient might feel dizziness, or light-headedness for 24 hours after the cardiac angiography.

If the patient is suffering from any disease like diabetes, the nurse will ensure checking blood sugar levels and also involve checking blood pressure and starting an intravenous line. It is recommended to convey all the details of allergies to the doctor or if the patient has had a bad experience linked to contrast dye in the past, or if the patient is pregnant.

What happens during the coronary angiography procedure?

Before the test, you’ll be given a mild sedative to help you relax. You’ll be awake throughout the test.

Your doctor will clean and numb an area of your body in the groin or arm with an anesthetic. You may feel a dull pressure as a sheath is inserted into an artery. A thin tube called a catheter will be guided gently up to an artery in your heart. Your doctor will supervise the whole process on a screen.

It’s unlikely that you’ll feel the tube move through your blood vessels.