Coronary angiography is an imaging technique or a radiological test that helps visualize the insides of the coronary arteries.
Indications of Test:
It shows the exact location and severity of any plaque formation and consequent narrowing of the coronary arteries. This helps the doctor to decide on what treatment is needed.
- The test is commonly carried out within the Cath lab in a hospital set up. The procedure normally takes around 15 to 20 minutes.
- The site of the procedure or insertion of the catheter at the upper part of the thigh near the groin or an artery in the arm anesthetized using a local anaesthetic injection. This will numb the site of the test.
- A thin, plastic tube called a sheath is inserted into an artery. Catheters are passed through this sheath to the coronary arteries of the heart
- Via this catheter, under X ray guidance contrast medium or dye is injected through the catheter into the coronary arteries.
- As the blood along with the dye flows through the arteries and the chambers of the heart, X rays show the path of the blood and outline the branches of the arteries. A series of x-ray pictures from different angles to check for blockages is recorded
Patients who are prescribed this test need to be admitted to the hospital on the day of the test. Sometimes admission on the previous evening and a stay overnight may also be advised.
A few hours of fasting with nothing taken via mouth (including water) is recommended.
Significance of the Test:
- Normal result of coronary angiography means that there is adequate blood supply to the heart. Abnormal result on the other hand means that one or more coronary arteries may be blocked or narrowed in one or more places.
- The degree or percentage of each block is also reported. If the narrowing of the arteries is mild, it can be treated with medicines alone.
- If the arteries and their branches are more severely occluded and narrowed, coronary artery bypass graft or coronary angioplasty may be required.