Coronary angiogram

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Cardiac catheterisation

This is a diagnostic procedure to look inside your heart's arteries to see if there are any narrowings or blockages

About

This test is used to diagnose the degree and severity of heart disease. It can show where your arteries are narrowed, how badly and how well your heart is pumping blood.

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    The procedure usually takes about 30 minutes. You’ll be given local anaesthetic to numb your groin or wrist. You may also be given a light sedative.

    Your consultant will insert a small, flexible tube into an artery at the top of your leg or your wrist. They'll guide a fine wire (catheter) through the tube to your heart's arteries.

    They will inject a special dye through the catheter and take some X-rays. This will help to show any narrowing in your arteries. You may feel a warm sensation while they do this.

    We may measure the blood pressure in one or more of your coronary arteries (pressure wire study) at the same time as your angiogram.

  • How to prepare icon plus

    Your consultant will tell you how to prepare. It’s important to let us know if you’re taking any medication as you may need to stop taking it beforehand. Like all procedures, there may be some risks and side effects involved. We will explain these to you and answer any questions you have. If you’re allergic to shellfish, iodine or contrast agents, please tell us before you have your procedure as it could increase your risk of having an allergic reaction. You will be asked to stop eating and drinking a few hours before your test.

  • Afterwards icon plus

    You should be able to go home on the day of your procedure. Please arrange for someone to travel home with you. You should rest for three to four days to allow your wrist or the top of your leg to heal.

    Your consultant will discuss your results with you, and let you know when you can get back to your usual routines and activities. They'll also give you advice on medication, exercise, travel, diet and alcohol.

Consultant in theatres

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.

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