19 Dec Angiogram: Heart
Alternative Names: Arteriogram, Cardiac angiogram, Cardiac catheterisation, Cardiac angiography
A cardiac angiogram, or ateriogram, is a test to observe the heart and the blood vessels supplying the heart (coronary arteries), and to perform certain procedures (e.g. angioplasty in which coronary arteries are dilated). It is usually performed in cases of chest pain, angina and heart attack, other heart problems, and when cardiac bypass surgery is being considered. The test is usually performed under sedation and on an empty stomach. A thin catheter (tube) is inserted into a blood vessel in the groin (sometimes in the neck) and threaded up to the heart. A special dye is injected through the catheter and X-ray images are then taken. Possible risks include irregular heart beat, damage to blood vessels, reactions to the dye, bleeding where the catheter was inserted, stroke, and heart attack.
What is it?
Cardiac angiography is a test where the heart and the circulation of blood within the vessels supplying the heart can be observed, and certain interventions and treatments performed.
This test is done in specially equipped centres, usually in hospitals, and takes less than an hour.
Why is it done?
Angiography is mainly done to assess the coronary arteries – the arteries that supply the heart with blood and oxygen. The main indications are:
- Angina and heart attack
- Chest pain
- Other heart problems
This test is often used when cardiac bypass surgery is being considered (when it is important to identify the exact size and position of any blockages in the coronary arteries).
Several procedures can be performed, including angioplasty where coronary arteries are dilated (often with small balloons), via angiography.
Before – how to prepare
You will need to sign a consent form. You will need to be “nil per mouth” for 12 hours before the test. You will probably be sedated prior to the procedure.
During – how the test is done
An intravenous line (drip) is usually placed in your arm. An area of skin in the groin (or occasionally the neck) is scrubbed clean and, once local anaesthetic has been injected under the skin, a thin catheter is inserted into a blood vessel. This catheter is then threaded up to the heart, using X-ray images for guidance. Special dye is then injected through the catheter and X-ray images are taken. Various procedures can be performed using small instruments passed through the catheter. The catheter is then removed and a tight dressing applied over the area where it was inserted.
After the test
It is important to rest for some time after the test and you should keep your leg still – instructions vary so it is best to check with your doctor.
Risks and Compilations
- Irregular heart beat
- Damage to blood vessels
- Reactions to the injected dye
- Bleeding at the site used to insert the catheter (groin)
- Heart attack
A cardiac angiogram, or ateriogram, is a test to observe the heart and the blood vessels supplying the heart (coronary arteries), and to perform certain procedures (e.g. angioplasty in which coronary arteries are dilated).
cardiac angiogram, angiogram, heart agiogram, arteriogram, Cardiac catheterisation, cardiac angiography