A coronary angiogram procedure is needed to assess for a variety of health conditions. Needing any form of medical procedure can be a stressful time and an angiogram is no exception. When undergoing this procedure, you want the best doctor possible to ensure you get the best care for your health. The doctors at Harley Street are highly experienced in angiography procedures and are expertly trained in providing you the best service at the time when you need it most.
Angiogram procedures can vary in complexity which determines how long they will take and what the recovery stage looks like. Typically, this procedure can take anywhere between 30 minutes and 2 hours. Most patients are able to go home the same day, but certain cases require you to stay overnight in hospital before being dismissed. The procedure is performed whilst under local anesthetic.
The procedure involves carefully feeding a catheter into your arteries and requires a skilled and experienced doctor to conduct it.
As you probably now understand, an angiogram procedure is no simple task and your doctor will only recommend it when necessary. It helps your doctor to diagnose conditions that affect your blood vessels and the flow of blood through them. The main reasons for an angiogram is to assess for coronary artery disease (blockages). In addition to the above, an angiogram can be recommended in planning procedures like angioplasty and stenting or surgery.
An angiogram is done to look at the blood vessels and see if there are any blockages. An angioplasty is often done right after an angiogram to treat a blockage. This is done during the same procedure. During an angioplasty a wire is pushed through the catheter and down past the blockage. Then a balloon is pushed over the wire. The balloon is inflated to open a blockage and a metal stent can be put in place to hold the artery open.
Your doctor will review your medical history, and in some cases may perform a physical exam to check everything is fine before starting. Then you will be provided with a hospital gown and required to remove things like contact lenses, glasses, jewelry, glasses and hair pins or clips. Finally, you will be required to empty your bladder before beginning the procedure.
You will start the actual procedure by lying down on an X-ray table.
To begin with, your doctor will precisely feed a catheter (which is a thin and flexible tube) into one of your arteries through an incision in either your groin or wrist. Once this is in place, the doctor will then move the X-ray machine into position to begin capturing images. During the procedure you may be given a sedative through an IV and will most likely be quite sleepy for the duration, although still able to follow instructions.
Dye is then injected through the catheter which gives the X-ray machine something to focus on. That part of the procedure is known as an arteriogram and is crucial in allowing your doctor to see into your arteries clearly.
As we mentioned above, an angiogram procedure uses contrast dye in your blood vessels. Without the dye it can be difficult to see your blood vessels so by adding it, the doctor can better see their location and current condition on the X-ray scans. If you have any concerns about contrast dye, it’s best to discuss them with your doctor beforehand.
Before undergoing an angiogram procedure, there are a few things you must do in advance to prepare.
With any medical procedure, the anticipation, or your expectations are almost always more intimidating than the procedure itself. An angiogram procedure is no different. However, it can help to understand the procedure and what’s involved before you attend.
An angiogram procedure takes on average about an hour, but this can vary depending on how the process goes. On the upper end you can expect around 2 hours, or 30 minutes on the lower end if you’re lucky. However, this doesn’t include the preparation and aftercare time. You could be required to stay overnight following the procedure, but this is something your doctor should inform you of beforehand.
The procedure should not cause any pain and you won’t feel the catheter moving through your body, which is a relief to most patients. If you have any worries about pain during your angiogram procedure, you should discuss this with your doctor before the process begins. They should be able to alleviate your worries and explain that the procedure is painless.
An angiogram procedure is considered safe, however there can always be complications during medical operations.
Common side effects include:
Fortunately, all of these are common and nothing to worry about. These side effects should pass within a few days or weeks.
More serious complications include:
These complications are quite rare and are all treatable by your doctor.
There are numerous benefits to an angiogram procedure though in many cases, the procedure itself is often more of a requirement by your doctor.
A coronary angiogram procedure is the gold standard for accurately diagnosing coronary artery disease.
As an angiogram procedure can provide your doctor with a great deal of information on the current health of your body, it is ideal for treatment planning. With this information, your doctor can make a well-informed decision on what next steps to take and how best to take care of your health and body.
When undergoing an angiogram procedure, you need a doctor who understands your situation. The procedure itself is typically conducted by a senior doctor specialized in cardiology. Before agreeing to the procedure, researching your doctor and speaking to them will help to give you additional confidence going forward with it.
Harley Street offers a range of cardiology treatment options from screening and diagnosis to minimally invasive procedures. In all cases, the doctors at Harley Street are highly experienced in providing the best and safest care for our patients. When undergoing an angiogram procedure you want to choose a doctor who you trust explicitly and we’d love to meet with you and discuss how we can make this procedure as simple and painless as possible for you. Click here to learn more.
Here are some of the frequently asked questions regarding the coronary angiogram procedure.