What is an angiogram?

A coronary angiogram is a procedure that uses x-ray technology to look at your heart's blood vessels. Typically, this test is done to see if there's a restriction in blood flow going to your heart.

Why is an angiogram done?

A coronary angiogram is done to find out where and/or how much blockage you have in your coronary arteries. An angiogram can help your doctor see if you need additional treatment options such as angioplasty or stent, coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG) or medical treatment.

What to expect during procedure

Coronary angiograms are performed in the hospitals heart catheterization laboratory or cath lab as more commonly referred to. Your doctor will numb a spot on your groin or arm and inserts a very thin tube (catheter) into an artery and up to your heart, where you will be injected with a fluid that flows up to your arteries. The dye helps your arteries show up on the x-ray. Several images will be taken and your doctor will review them to see if any issues existing with the flow in your coronary arteries. 
Angiograms are considered an outpatient procedure and patients usually go home the same day.

Common Conditions that could require an angiogram

Your doctor may recommend that you have a coronary angiogram if you have the following:

  • Symptoms of coronary artery disease, such as chest pain (angina)
  • Abnormal results on a noninvasive heart stress test
  • Other blood vessel problems or a chest injury
  • A problem with one of your heart valves that requires surgery

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