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Coronary Angiography

Coronary angiography is a medical procedure that uses X-ray imaging to examine the heart’s blood vessels. This test can identify blockages in the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle. If blockages are detected, the doctor may recommend further treatment, such as angioplasty or stenting, to help restore normal blood flow to the heart.

Who needs Coronary Angiography

Coronary angiography may be recommended if you have symptoms of heart disease, such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or an abnormal stress test. It may also be performed if you have a history of heart attack or other heart problems, or if you have a high risk of developing heart disease due to risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes.

When to see a Specialist:

If you are experiencing symptoms of heart disease, such as chest pain or shortness of breath, or if you have a history of heart problems, you should see a specialist. A cardiologist will be able to evaluate your symptoms and determine if you need further testing, such as a coronary angiogram.


Angioplasty is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat narrow or blocked blood vessels, particularly those that supply the heart muscle. The procedure involves the following steps:

  • Local anesthesia: The patient is given a local anesthetic to numb the area around the blood vessel that will be treated. In some cases, general anesthesia may be used.
  • Insertion of catheter: A thin, flexible tube called a catheter is inserted into the artery through a small incision made in the groin or wrist.
  • Guidewire insertion: A thin wire is threaded through the catheter and guided to the blockage in the blood vessel using X-ray guidance.
  • Balloon catheter insertion: A balloon catheter is then threaded over the wire and positioned at the blockage.
  • Balloon inflation: The balloon is then inflated, compressing the plaque against the walls of the blood vessel and opening up the artery, allowing blood to flow freely again.
  • Stent insertion (if needed): In some cases, a small metal mesh tube called a stent may be placed in the newly opened blood vessel to help keep it open.
  • Deflation and removal of catheter: The balloon is deflated, and the catheter and wire are removed.
  • Closure of incision: The incision is closed with a stitch or a special closure device.


After the procedure, you will need to lie still for a few hours to allow the catheter site to heal. You may experience some soreness or bruising at the insertion site, but this should go away within a few days. Your doctor will provide specific instructions on how to care for the insertion site and when you can resume normal activities.


Coronary angiography is a safe procedure, but as with any medical test, there are some risks. The most common risks include bleeding or bruising at the catheter insertion site, allergic reaction to the contrast dye, and damage to the blood vessels or other organs. Your doctor will discuss the risks and benefits of the test with you before the procedure.

Benefits of Coronary Angiography

Coronary angiography can help your doctor diagnose and treat heart disease. By identifying blockages in the coronary arteries, the test can help determine the most appropriate treatment, which may include angioplasty or stenting. The procedure is also useful for monitoring the progress of treatment and assessing the effectiveness of medications.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is coronary angiography?

Coronary angiography is a medical procedure that involves the use of contrast dye and X-ray imaging to examine the coronary arteries in the heart.

2. How is a coronary angiography performed?

During coronary angiography, a long, thin tube (catheter) is inserted into an artery in the groin or arm and carefully guided to the coronary arteries. Contrast dye is then injected through the catheter while X-ray images are taken to visualize the blood flow in the heart.

3. Is coronary angiography painful?

Most patients do not experience significant pain during a coronary angiography procedure. Local anesthesia is used to numb the area where the catheter is inserted, and sedatives may be given to help patients relax.

4. How long does a coronary angiography take?

The procedure itself usually takes less than an hour, but patients are typically monitored for several hours afterward to ensure there are no complications.

5. What are the risks of coronary angiography?

While coronary angiography is generally considered a safe procedure, there are some risks, including bleeding or bruising at the site where the catheter is inserted, allergic reactions to the contrast dye, damage to the blood vessels or surrounding organs, and rarely, heart attack or stroke.

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