Coronary Angiogram (cardiac catheterisation)

A Coronary Angiogram is a special x-ray test designed to take pictures of the arteries of the heart. It is a safe test and is performed under local anesthetic. It’s performed to find out if your coronary arteries are clogged, where and by how much. An angiogram helps your cardiologist to see if you need treatment such as angioplasty, coronary artery bypass surgery or medical therapy.

Before the procedure, you may be given medicine to relax you, but you will stay awake. Within our catheterisation laboratory you will lie on a table near a camera and other equipment. Your cardiologist will numb a spot on your groin or arm and insert a thin tube (catheter) into an artery and up to the heart. Most people do not find this particularly uncomfortable. Special fluid is injected through the catheter to show up the coronary arteries on x-ray. Many x-rays are taken as the fluid goes through the artery. The test gives us a road map of the arteries and shows up any blockages or narrowings. The valves, pumping function and oxygen levels in the heart can also be assessed. If you wish, you can see the x-ray pictures on the screen during or after the test.

After the test, the catheter will be taken out. A nurse or doctor will apply direct pressure for 15 minutes or longer where the catheter was inserted to make sure there is no internal bleeding. You will be asked to lie quietly on your back for several hours. You won’t have to lie on your back if the catheterisation was performed from an artery in your arm. The patient will be brought back to their hospital room or Cardiac Care Unit (CCU). It is possible that the patient may feel sore where the catheter was inserted or from lying on your back. Generally we recommend that you take a few days off work after the procedure and do not drive for a couple of days.

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