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Coronary Angiogram

Coronary Angiogram

A coronary angiogram is an invasive test performed either through a wrist or through a groin. This investigation is indicated in patients with chest pains, angina, history of a heart attack or unexplained heart failure. Coronary angiogram looks at coronary arteries. Coronary arteries are the blood vessels that supply oxygen rich blood to the heart muscle. This test is performed under local anaesthetic and involves putting small, flexible tubes, called catheters into the heart. Once the catheters are in coronary arteries, contrast is injected directly into the coronaries and x-ray pictures are taken. If the coronaries are found to be blocked or narrowed, stenting procedure may need to be considered. This test can take up to 30mins.

The angiogram allows cardiologists to visualize any furring up of the arteries, such as fatty deposits buildup or blockages. By assessing the size, location, and severity of these blockages, interventional cardiologists can determine the most appropriate treatment plan for the patient. This may involve lifestyle modifications, medication therapy, or invasive procedures such as angioplasty and stent placement to restore blood flow to the heart.

Coronary angiography is performed in a cardiac catheterization laboratory (cath lab) under local anaesthesia and mild sedation. It is considered a safe and minimally invasive procedure. It carries a low risk (1/1000) of serious complications such as stroke, heart attack, death or bypass surgery.

In our cath lab in addition to Dr Bart, two nurses, a radiographer and a physiologist are present. First nurse is scrubbed and acts as a second operator, second nurse talks to our patients and administers medications. Our radiographers help with acquiring XRAY images and our physiologists monitor our patients vital signs. 

After the procedure, patients are usually monitored for a brief period to ensure there are no immediate complications. Most individuals can resume normal activities within a day or two, although strenuous exercise and heavy lifting may be restricted for a short period.

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