The coronary arteries supply heart muscles with blood. They can become blocked with a plaque buildup (fat, cells, other substances) and this reduces the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart. Coronary angiography is used to detect blockages in the coronary arteries by using special contrast dye or x-ray.
This test is performed to find out if a patient’s coronary arteries are clogged or narrowed, where and how much. It is important to detect blockages because by the time they can cause chest pain or a heart attack. This test helps doctors to organize a treatment plan such as angioplasty or stent, coronary artery by-pass according to the patient needs and conditions. Coronary angiography may be performed if a patient has:
- Angina, for the first time
- Unstable Angina
- Aortic Stenosis
- Atypical Chest Pain
- Abnormal Heart Stress Test
- High Risk for Coronary Artery Disease Before the surgery
- Heart Failure
- Diagnose of a Heart Attack
How is it performed?
- Patient will stay awake to be able to follow the doctor’s instructions but will get medicine to be relaxed during procedure.
- Often, coronary angiography is performed with a cardiac catheterization procedure.
- Patient needs to lie on his/her back on a movable table near a camera.
- A doctor will numb an area on the arm, groin, upper thigh or neck and inserts a thin tube (catheter) into a peripheral artery and directed towards heart.
- After the catheter is in place, the doctor will inject a special solution which goes through the catheter and highlight blockages. All vessels of the heart, heart chambers can be seen on the X-Ray images.
- By studying X-ray images, the doctor can see patient’s problems on his/her coronary arteries.