Coronary Angiography and Angioplasty

Coronary Angiography

Coronary angiography is a diagnostic test that uses X-rays to examine the heart’s blood vessels, specifically the coronary arteries. This procedure is crucial in identifying blockages or narrowing in these arteries, aiding in the diagnosis of various heart conditions like coronary artery disease.

Before the Procedure: 

  •  You may be instructed not to eat or drink for several hours before the test.
  •  Bring a list of your medications and inform your Specialist about any medical conditions, especially diabetes.

During the Procedure:

  • A catheter is inserted into an artery, usually through the wrist but sometimes the groin.
  • The procedure can take about an hour or longer, depending on additional tests or treatments needed.

Medical Issues: Discuss your medical history, allergies, and current medications with your doctor.

  • Fasting: Typically, fasting for four to six hours before the test is required.
  • Other Tests: You may undergo blood tests, an electrocardiogram, and chest X-ray before the angiogram.

After the Procedure:

  • You will be monitored in a recovery area by healthcare professionals.
  • If blockages are found, treatments like angioplasty or stent placement may be performed.
  • Medications may be commenced or adjusted based on the findings of the test.

Coronary Angioplasty (Stenting)

Coronary angioplasty, also known as percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat blocked or narrowed coronary arteries, the blood vessels that supply the heart muscle with oxygen and nutrients. This procedure aims to improve blood flow to the heart by widening the narrowed arteries, typically by inserting a stent to keep the artery open.

During coronary angioplasty, a thin, flexible tube called a catheter is inserted into an artery in the wrist or groin and guided to the blocked coronary artery. A small balloon at the tip of the catheter is inflated to widen the narrowed artery, compressing the plaque against the artery walls. In many cases, a stent—a small mesh tube—is then placed in the artery to support it and prevent it from narrowing again.

  • Improved Blood Flow: By widening the blocked artery, coronary angioplasty restores proper blood flow to the heart muscle.
  • Symptom Relief: Angioplasty can alleviate symptoms like chest pain (angina) and shortness of breath.
  • Increased Survival Rates: Especially after a heart attack, angioplasty can improve survival rates by restoring blood flow quickly.

While complications are rare, risks associated with coronary angioplasty include:

  • Bleeding at the catheter insertion site
  • Heart attack or stroke
  • Kidney injury

After undergoing coronary angioplasty, patients may experience minor bruising or bleeding at the catheter insertion site. It is advisable to avoid heavy lifting for about a week and take prescribed medications, including blood thinners, for up to a year. Most individuals can resume normal activities soon after the procedure and may notice an improvement in their quality of life due to better blood flow to the heart muscles.

Your Specialist will provide guidance on lifestyle modifications and ongoing management of your heart condition to help prevent future blockages, angina or heart attack.