When it comes to your blood vessels and your heart, it’s important to be aware of the cautionary procedures and tests you can take to ensure that your health is in good shape. To achieve this, the team at Suffolk Vascular & Vein Center is proud to offer patients a safe and informative Coronary Angiogram procedure.
A coronary angiogram, also known as arteriography, is a diagnostic procedure to examine the blood vessels and chambers within the heart using X-ray imaging. This procedure is performed by inserting a catheter into a blood vessel in the upper thigh or arm area and threaded to the heart where a contrast dye is delivered. The dye is visible on the X-ray images and can help identify any abnormalities within the heart.
Why Would I Need A Coronary Angiogram?
This procedure is performed to determine if the coronary arteries are clogged, as well as the location and severity of the clog. Patients will be awake during the test, but a local anesthetic will be applied when the catheter is inserted to minimize any discomfort. Patients may be asked to hold their breath or cough while the X-ray images are being taken.
- Symptoms of coronary artery disease, such as chest pain (angina)
- Pain in your chest, jaw, neck, or arm that can’t be explained by other tests
- New or increasing chest pain (unstable angina)
- A heart defect you were born with (congenital heart disease)
- Abnormal results on a noninvasive heart stress test
- Other blood vessel problems or a chest injury
- A heart valve problem that requires surgery
What Can I Expect From The Coronary Angiogram Procedure?
During the coronary angiogram procedure, patients may experience slight pressure and an urge to urinate. Some patients may also experience nausea and chest pain during the procedure, and soreness afterwards. The doctor will analyze the results of this test to determine whether or not the patient has a blockage in the coronary arteries and determine the best treatment plan for their individual condition.
Are There Any Risks With This Procedure?
Just like all other cautionary procedures that involve vital organs such as the heart, there are a few risks that come with the coronary angiogram procedure. Some of these risks include exposure to radiation, due to the important use of X-rays during the process. Other risks and complications can include:
- Heart attack
- Injury to the catheterized artery
- Irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias)
- Allergic reactions to the dye or medications used during the procedure
- Kidney damage
- Excessive bleeding
For most patients, however, these complications are quite rare and can be easily avoided and/or managed with proper care and attention. The team at Suffolk Vascular & Vein Center is committed to providing all patients with detailed information about the risks and benefits of their coronary angiogram.
How Can I Prepare for the Procedure?
Most coronary angiograms are performed on an emergency basis, however, if you’re taking the proper steps to schedule a procedure in advance, and you do have time to prepare, you can do the following:
- Avoid eating or drinking anything the night before your angiogram procedure
Consult with your provider to determine whether or not it is safe to continue taking your prescribed medicine during this procedure and its recovery period.
If you have diabetes, consult with your provider about if you should take insulin or other oral medications before your angiogram.
While our team will give each patient-specific guidelines to follow before, during, and after their procedure, preparing in advance for this major process can benefit you.
How Will The Results From my Coronary Angiogram Procedure Benefit Me?
The coronary angiogram procedure’s purpose is to help doctors identify any complications involving the blood vessels in a patient’s heart. More specifically, this procedure can:
- Determine the number of coronary arteries that are blocked or narrowed
- Pinpoint exactly where blockages are located in your blood vessels
- Show how much blood flow is blocked through your blood vessels
- Check the results of a previous coronary bypass surgery
- Check the overall blood flow through your heart and blood vessels
This information (and knowing it beforehand) can help your doctor figure out the best kind of treatment for you. The earlier you can know about your condition, the more chance you have of preventing further complications. Depending on the results of your procedure, your doctor will clearly inform you about the options you will have to unclog a blocked vessel and restore your overall health.
“Extremely satisfied with my visit with SVA. The whole staff was very friendly, knowledgeable and helpful! Highly recommend them for any vascular leg treatment.”
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