Coronary angiogram

A coronary angiogram is the test that is carried out most by interventional cardiologists. The test examines the heart internally to visualise the coronary arteries and identify any narrowed or blocked arteries. It is not an operation or treatment, but a painless test carried out under local anaesthetic. It is therefore called a minimally invasive procedure.

Before the test

  • The test and the possible associated risks will be discussed with you and your family beforehand.
  • You must not eat or drink anything before you are admitted to hospital.
  • On the day of the test a blood test will be carried out and a drip will be placed in your arm.

The test

  1. The test is carried out under local anaesthetic. A local anaesthetic will be applied to your wrist or groin.
  2. Starting from the wrist or groin the cardiologist will advance a number of thin tubes called catheters into your heart. The doctor can check where the catheter is located at any time by moving a mobile X-ray arm across your chest. This X-ray machine is also used to take pictures of the coronary arteries.
  3. He can use these pictures to find out where the coronary arteries are narrowed and also to see any abnormalities in the heart valves.
  4. During the procedure he can dilate narrowed arteries and place a small stent in them or, if necessary, give you an artificial aortic valve.
  5. Depending on the time of day when the test is carried out, you may be able to go home the same day or the next day.

After the test

  • After the test the tube is removed from the artery and a pressure dressing is applied by the nurse to prevent bleeding.
  • You will then have to remain lying in bed for a few hours.


< Back