Coronary Angiogram/Heart Catheterization
About the Procedure:
• A coronary angiogram is a procedure that uses X-ray imaging to see your heart’s blood vessels. Coronary angiograms are part of a general group of procedures known as cardiac catheterization.
• Heart catheterization procedures can both diagnose and treat heart and blood vessel conditions. A coronary angiogram, which can help diagnose heart conditions, is the most common type of heart catheter procedure.
• During a coronary angiogram, a type of dye that is visible by X-ray is injected into the blood vessels of your heart. The X-ray machine rapidly takes a series of images (angiograms), offering a detailed look at the inside of your blood vessels. If necessary, your doctor can perform procedures such as angioplasty during your coronary angiogram.
Why the Procedure is Performed
• Your doctor may recommend that you have a coronary angiogram if you have:
o Symptoms of coronary artery disease, such as chest pain (angina)
o Pain in your chest, jaw, neck or arm that can’t be explained by other tests
o New or increasing chest pain (unstable angina)
o A heart defect you were born with (congenital heart disease)
o Heart failure
o Other blood vessel problems or a chest injury
o A heart valve problem that requires surgery
o You may also need an angiogram if you’re going to have surgery unrelated to your heart, but you are at high risk of having a heart problem during that surgery.
• Because there is a small risk of complication, angiograms are usually done after noninvasive heart tests have been performed, such as an electrocardiogram, an echocardiogram, or a stress test.
How to prepare for the procedure
• In some cases, coronary angiograms are performed on an emergency basis. More commonly, though, they’re scheduled in advance to give you time to prepare.
• Angiograms are performed in the catheterization (cath) lab of a hospital; primarily Platte Valley Medical Center, but also at Aurora Medical Center South and Denver Health. Usually you go to the hospital the morning of the procedure. Your healthcare team will give you specific instructions and talk to you about any medications you take.
• Please contact High Plains Heart and Vascular Center for more details and information.