Coronary Angiography

Overview

A coronary angiogram is an x-ray which looks at the coronary arteries to determine whether they have become narrowed by fatty deposit or plaque.

The procedure

A local anaesthetic (numbing agent) is injected usually in the right groin, but occasionally in an artery in the arm is used.  This may sting a little.

Inserting the Guide Wire

A small catheter is placed in the artery under x-ray imaging.  A contrast dye is injected through the catheter into the coronary arteries.  As x-ray images are taken any narrowing in the coronary arteries are seen on a screen.

How long does the procedure take?

The procedure usually takes about 20-30 minutes.  When the procedure is complete the catheter is removed.  A nurse will press on the catheter site for a further 10 minutes.  You will be moved to the Cardiac Unit where you will be monitored by nursing staff for several hours.  Your blood pressure, heart rate and groin puncture site will be checked.  You will be required to remain in bed for a further 2-4 hours.

The doctor will inform you of the results of the angiogram immediately following the procedure.

What are the risks?

A coronary angiogram is an invasive procedure which has some risks which your doctor has considered to be acceptable in order to provide information about your coronary arteries.  Please discuss the risks with your doctor.