Coronary angiogram is a procedure that uses dye and x-ray to see how the blood flows through your heart. It helps a physician diagnose blocked arteries and coronary artery disease. It is often done as a part of a cardiac catheterization and other catheter based tests.
The coronary angiogram is considered one of the most effective for diagnosing coronary artery disease. It is considered safe and it is also considered to be minimally invasive. In fact, more than 1 million coronary angiograms are performed each year.
Length of the procedure is normally 1 1/2 hours. Patients are not required to stay overnight for this procedure. Patients seeking a coronary angiogram through medical tourism can usually return home 24 hours after the procedure. Although you can depart shortly after your procedure, it is best to stay 48 hours to give your body some rest. This will give you adequate time to recover from anesthesia before you travel.
Your procedure begins with the administration of sedative. You will be awake during this test, but you will be given an IV sedative to promote relaxation and comfort. The staff will place electrodes on your body so they can monitor your heart rate during the test.
To begin the test the physician will insert a catheter in the groin or upper thigh. The catheter will be fed from there up to the heart. When the catheter reaches the heart dye is injected through the catheter into the coronary artery.
Once the dye is injected the physician will take several angiograms. The physician will take still and moving angiograms. The patient may be asked to cough or take a couple of deep breaths to help circulate the dye before the physician takes the angiograms.
Once the coronary angiogram is finished the physician will remove the catheter. The hole will be sealed with a plug under the skin or pressure will be place on the catheters entry point. Stitches may also be used to close the entry point.
After the procedure you will be taken to recovery. You will be monitored for about 2 to 8 hours and released.
During this time you will lie in bed with your legs straight. You may feel groggy and have a bruise at the catheters entry point.
The coronary angiogram is considered one of the most accurate diagnostic tests for coronary artery disease and blockage. In fact, if a blockage is found during the procedure they can perform a percutaneous coronary intervention or PCI to open the blockage. The PCI can be done during the same coronary angiogram.