A coronary angiography, also known as a coronary angiogram is a medical technique used to see the inside of blood vessels and organs within
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A coronary angiography, also known as a coronary angiogram is a medical technique used to see the inside of blood vessels and organs within the body.
The procedure is usually performed in order to properly diagnose diseases related to veins, arteries or the chambers of the heart. This technique is a part of a group of procedures known as cardiac catheterization. A coronary angiography is one of the most common types of cardiac catheterization procedures.
A coronary angiography procedure uses a special type of dye and an X-ray machine to properly diagnose heart conditions. The dye is radio-opaque, meaning that it will be completely visible in the X-ray. This gives doctors a chance to study the patient’s veins and arteries. Several X-rays are taken during a coronary angiography procedure – these x-rays are called angiograms.
In some cases, doctors may perform an angioplasty in order to widen obstructed veins or arteries. A stent may also be inserted in certain cases as well. Due to these reasons, a coronary angiography is considered both a diagnosis technique as well as a treatment one.
A coronary angiography procedure is recommended for the following groups of patients:
● Patients with abnormal stress test results
● Patients with symptoms related to coronary artery disease
● Patients suffering from pain in the neck, arm, chest or jaw
● Congenital heart disease
● Heart failure
● Chest injury
● Cardiac arrhythmia
● Coronary vasospasm
The procedure may also be performed on patients with a high risk of developing cardiac complications from other types of surgery.
Relative contraindications for a coronary angiography can include the following:
● Acute renal failure
● Chronic renal failure and diabetes
● Gastrointestinal bleeding
● Fever, as it can be a sign of infection
● Active infection within the body
● Local infection at the incision site
● Severe anemia
● Acute stroke
● Severe hypertension
The coronary angiography procedure is usually performed only after other non invasive tests have been done. These may include a stress test, an echocardiogram or an electrocardiogram.
Patients will be required to stop eating or drinking anything at least 10 hours before the coronary angiography. Some medications may be prescribed for the patient during this time as well.
Patients will be required to lie on an X-ray table before being administered a sedative and a local anaesthetic. A catheter needs to be inserted into the patient’s blood vessels. Doctors can use the groin area or the arm for this purpose. The incision area is shaved, washed and disinfected. After that, the catheter is inserted into the blood vessel and it is carefully directed towards the coronary arteries or the heart. A radio-opaque dye is inserted through the catheter. The doctors are now able to discover any abnormalities in the patient’s heart or coronary arteries. If some arteries are too narrow, an angioplasty may be performed or a stent may be placed. The procedure takes around an hour. After the coronary angiography procedure is done, the incision is closed and a small bandage is applied.
30 to 60 minutes
Patients are required to lie flat in their beds for around 8 hours after the coronary angiography procedure. They may not move their arms or legs, depending on the area where the catheter was introduced. Slight pressure may be applied on the incision site in order to prevent any bleeding.
Intensive physical activities need to be avoided for a few days after the coronary angiography. Patients may return to work and normal activities depending on their test results.
Potential coronary angiography risks and complications can include:
● Heart attack
● Damage to arteries
● Excessive bleeding
Side effects associated with a coronary angiography procedure can include:
● Slight bruising around the incision site
● Mild pain and discomfort
● Slight swelling
A survey based on 7.412 coronary angiography procedures set the complication rate at 0.8%. The overall mortality rate for this procedure is 0%, based on 7.412 patients who underwent this procedure between 1990 and 2000.
A coronary angiography allows doctor to gather valuable information related to the patient’s blood vessels. After the procedure is performed, doctors are able to set up a thorough treatment plan.