Everything About Angiography

Everything About Angiography

AMcSNEMBy Dr. Saurabh Joshi, Radiology

Angiography is one of the most primary tests that is conducted on people with complaints of heart diseases or those who have suffered a cardiac arrest of some degree. It usually involves the insertion of a fine plastic tube called the catheter into one’s artery in order to map the condition of the heart of the patient.  It takes X-rays of the heart’s arteries (coronary arteries) using a technique called coronary angiography or arteriography.

The resulting images are known as coronary angiograms or arteriograms.

Depending upon the results of angiography, the medical specialist recommends the insertion of a stent to correct the blockages in the heart through the process of angioplasty or alternatively, medicines are prescribed for the same purpose. Angiography is not a surgery and it does not involve any grave health hazard. On most occasions, the patient is able to resume the normal activities within a span of a day.

Why do you need coronary angiography?

Coronary angiography can be used to help diagnose heart conditions, help plan future treatments and carry out certain procedures. For example, it may be used:

  1. after a heart attack: where the heart’s blood supply is blocked
  2. to help diagnose angina: where pain in the chest is caused by restricted blood supply to the heart
  3. to plan interventional or surgical procedures: such as a coronary angioplasty, where narrowed or blocked blood vessels are widened

Coronary angiography is also considered to be the best method of diagnosing coronary heart disease (where a build-up of fatty substances in the coronary arteries affects the heart’s blood supply).

Procedure: Performed usually by a cardiologist or a radiologist, angiography usually involves inserting a plastic tube called the sheath into one’s artery through an intravenous line. At all points, the bodily parameters like the blood pressure, heart beat rate are thoroughly monitored in the course of angiography.

Through the sheath, a very thin tube called the catheter is inserted on to the particular artery. Thereon, x rays and a contrast agent are focused on to the artery through the catheter to procure a clear chart of the arteries and their functioning. This is done to detect the cause of the cardiac troubles and then proceed towards the appropriate treatment.

Other Considerations: Angiography is a painless procedure and does not entail any threat to life. However, one’s medical history and the conditions of the other vital organs are taken into consideration before performing angiography. One can usually leave the hospital on the same day or the very next day after getting substantial rest post angiography.