Coronary Angiography

What is coronary angiography?

Coronary angiography is a specialized procedure using contrast dye and X-rays to identify blockages in your coronary arteries. Such blockages prevent oxygen and other important nutrients from reaching your heart, causing chest pain during physical activity or stress, or even a heart attack. Coronary angiography is a commonly performed procedure that rarely causes serious problems. It is often performed along with cardiac catheterization, a procedure that measures pressure in heart chambers using a thin catheter inserted through your arm or groin.

In this procedure, your cardiologist passes the catheter through an artery and carefully moves it into your heart with the help of X-ray images. Once the catheter is in place, the doctor injects contrast material through the catheter. X-ray images reveal how the dye moves through the artery and help identify any blockages preventing normal blood flow. Coronary angiography typically takes 30 to 60 minutes.

Why is coronary angiography performed?

  • If you have aortic stenosis or another valve problem
  • If you have atypical chest pain when other tests are normal
  • If you have an abnormal stress test
  • If you have angina for the first time
  • If your angina is worsening, occurring more often, happening at rest or not going away
  • If you are going to have heart surgery and you are at high risk for coronary artery disease
  • If you have heart failure or have been diagnosed with a heart attack

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