August 2014

Angiogram and Angiography

Angiogram and Angiography

Angiography is an invasive but relatively safe procedure used to evaluate the heart in individuals where heart disease is suspected.


Who. Should Have An Angiogram?

  • Individuals where there is suspected atherosclerotic coronary artery disease.
  • Individuals with symptomatic atherosclerotic disease.
  • Individual with valvular disease or other non atherosclerotic heart disease.
  • Abnormal Stress Electrocardiogram.
  • Presurgical Evaluation prior to Angioplasty or Coronary Bypass.

    The procedure for making an angiogram involves insertion of a catheter, a hollow, flexible tube, into an artery at the elbow or groin. This catheter is threaded slowly and carefully into the main artery of the body, the aorta, and ultimately into one or both sides of the heart. While in the heart the atrium and ventricles can be inspected and the valves between them can also be inspected. See Cardiac Catheterization for greater details regarding the procedure.

    Eventually the catheter is moved into the left side of the heart. The catheter is then guided into a coronary artery. A radio-opaque dye is then injected through the catheter to outline the inside of the heart and its arteries. It allows an x-ray picture to be taken making visible what cannot be seen by the naked eye. This procedure is called Coronary Angiography and it is used to outline major arteries of the heart looking for obstructed vessels, and significant atherosclerotic deposits. In Diagram: 1 the arrow reveals narrowing due to the buildup of atherosclerotic plaque.





    Diagram: 1.


    Risks of Angiography

  • Allergic Reaction to Radiographic dye or other medications
  • Puncture of a major blood vessel
  • Puncture of a minor blood vessel
  • Local infection at the site of introduction of the catheter.
  • Arrhythmia (irregularity of the heart)
  • Cardiac Arrest
  • Need for Resuscitation
  • Death