A coronary angiogram is an investigation that looks to see if the arteries of the heart are blocked or narrowed.

A coronary angiogram is an investigation whereby contrast dye is placed into the coronary arteries of the heart via a catheter, that is usually inserted into the left wrist. Once the dye is inserted into the arteries, an x-ray movie of the dye moving though the arteries is taken.
Why

A coronary angiogram allows your cardiologist to see if the arteries of the heart are blocked or narrowed. A coronary angiogram also allows the pressures and blood flow in the heart to be measured. With this information, your cardiologist can determine the most appropriate treatment for you.

Preparation

Your cardiologist may ask you to have blood test and fast for 6 hours prior to the angiogram. You will need to arrange transport after your procedure, as you will not be able to drive. Your cardiologist may ask you to hold some medications the day of the procedure. You will be asked to sign a consent form after having the risks and benefits of the procedure explained to you.

How is it done

You will lie on an examination table under an x-ray camera. You may be given a sedative. Adhesive discs called electrodes are placed on your chest to monitor your heart rhythm during the angiogram. Under local anaesthetic, a small incision is made, most commonly in your wrist, where the cardiologist will insert a catheter into your artery and guide it up to your heart. Contrast dye is then injected and a moving x-ray picture is taken as the dye progresses through the arteries.

Upon completion of the coronary angiogram, the catheters will be removed and a clamp placed on the arterial puncture site until the artery heals over – usually an hour. You will move to a recovery room where you will need to rest for a few hours. Your cardiologist will arrange a review to discuss the angiogram results.

Duration

4 hours.