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Coronary Angiography

Understanding Coronary Angiography

A Coronary Angiogram, also known as Coronary Angiography, is a medical procedure that utilizes contrast dye and X-ray images to examine the coronary arteries, the blood vessels surrounding the heart. Primarily employed for diagnosing and treating heart and blood vessel conditions, this procedure is crucial in identifying blockages within the coronary arteries.

Indications for Coronary Angiography

  • Your healthcare provider might recommend an angiography if you are experiencing:
  • Symptoms of coronary artery disease
  • Increasing chest pain
  • Congenital heart defects
  • Abnormal results from non-invasive heart tests
  • Chest injuries or issues with blood vessels
  • Heart valve problems requiring surgery

Due to its invasive nature, angiograms are typically conducted after non-invasive heart tests, such as an electrocardiogram, an echocardiogram, or a stress test.

The Procedure Unveiled

During the procedure, a catheter (a small tube) is inserted into a blood vessel, usually through the groin or wrist. Subsequently, a contrast material or dye is injected, followed by the capture of X-ray images. The dye, visible under an X-ray machine, allows the doctor to visualize blood flow and identify any blockages. If necessary, additional procedures, like stent placement, can be performed during the angiogram. Post-procedure, the catheter is removed.

Duration and Post-Procedure Care

The angiogram typically takes 30 to 60 minutes, although additional procedures may extend the duration. After the procedure, a period of observation is necessary. Vital signs are monitored, and you’re encouraged to walk to aid in dye elimination. Depending on the findings, your doctor will discuss potential treatment plans. Discharge on the same day or an overnight stay may be recommended, with a follow-up appointment scheduled accordingly.

Preparation and FAQs

  • Do not eat or drink after midnight before the test.
  • Inform your doctor about all routine medications.
  • Disclose any allergies or prior reactions to contrast medium.
  • Arrange for someone to accompany you home.

Angiogram Results and Care at Home

  • The reports reveal the status of coronary arteries and blood flow.
  • The angiogram helps detect blood vessel abnormalities, diagnose cardiovascular diseases, assess health before surgery, and check stent placement.
  • Post-angiogram, refrain from lifting heavy weights, stay hydrated, and report any unusual symptoms to your doctor promptly.

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