What is Angiography, and how is it performed?

Coronary angiography is a medical imaging technique used to view the heart’s chambers and coronary arteries. X-ray images of the arteries in the heart are called an angiogram. Narrowed, blocked, enlarged, or malformed blood vessels are generally detected via an angiogram. It also reveals the extent and severity of heart disease.

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How is Coronary angiography performed? :

 A catheter is inserted in the patient’s forearm (radial artery) or groin (femoral artery) after anesthetizing the region. The catheter is then threaded to the heart through the arterial system. A contrast dye containing iodine is injected into the heart via the catheter on reaching the desired point. The distribution of the dye within the heart and blood vessels is recorded as the angiogram. Through this, the doctor can visualize the size of the artery openings. This test can also determine blockages in the coronary arteries due to plaque buildup. An angiogram also helps to identify the narrowed blood vessels or coronary artery stenosis. It is often used to diagnose an aneurysm, heart arrhythmias, or congenital defects in the heart. It is generally not recommended for patients with a low risk of heart attack or who don’t have angina symptoms.

Are there any risks involved in it? :

Angiography is a relatively safe test. However, there are some minor risks involved in it. Risks include temporary bleeding at the wound site, bruising, and the development of allergic rashes. Some rare but serious complications range from severe bleeding to even death. 

Coronary angiography: FAQs

What preparation is required from the patient? 

The patient is required to fast for four to six hours and discontinue medications that thin the blood before the test. Apart from this, blood tests are performed to check kidney function. The other tests recommended by the doctor before the angiography are electrocardiogram, chest x-ray, and cardiac CT (computed tomography).

How long does it take?

Coronary angiography is performed in over 30 minutes, but this may last longer at times. During the test, the heart rate and rhythm are generally monitored. 

Who performs it?

A cardiologist or a doctor who specializes in the heart conducts a coronary angiography.

How much does it cost?

The cost of coronary angiography ranges from Rs. 15K to Rs. 65K in India.

When can I go home after the procedure?

The patient needs to stay in the hospital overnight or for several hours after the test. After going home, the patient is advised to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated to flush out the dye from the kidneys. He is also asked to refrain from lifting heavy weights for a week to prevent bleeding from the groin. 


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