What is the Procedure of an Angiogram?

Coronary angiogram refers to a medical procedure, which involves the usage of X-ray images to view the blood vessels of the patient’s heart. Doctors mainly perform this procedure to identify any restriction in the flow of blood that goes into the heart of patients. In this way, the procedure belongs to a group of procedures performed under the cardiac or heart catheterization.

What is the Procedure of an Angiogram?

  • Doctors perform the procedure of coronary angiogram with the help of a local anesthesia as well as intravenous sedation to maintain the comfort level of the patients.
  • Doctor begins a coronary angiogram procedure by simply inserting a thin hollow type of tube or a small catheter of 2mm to 3mm diameter through the patient’s skin within the artery either in the arm or in the groin.
  • Next in the angiogram procedure, with the help of a special X-ray view device i.e. fluoroscope, doctors advance with the catheter procedure to the opening present in the arteries of the coronary i.e. the blood vessels responsible for supplying of the blood into the human heart.
  • Now, surgeons inject an iodine-based solution or a radiographic contrast into the artery of each coronary. Images thus obtained are angiograms.
  • The complete angiogram procedure requires 20 minutes to 30 minutes time.
  • Once the angiogram procedure completes, surgeons remove the catheter and seal, suture or treat the artery of arm or leg with the help of manual compression to avoid bleeding.
  • Along with this, if doctors/surgeons indicate any angioplasty, they have to perform angiography as a part of the big procedure.

Expectations Related to the Angiogram Procedure

At the Time of the Angiogram Procedure:

For the angiogram procedure, a patient has to lie on the back on a suitable X-ray table. As the table tilts at the time of surgical procedure, medical assistants fasten safety straps across both the legs and chest. Moreover, they move X-ray cameras around and over the chest and head of the patient to capture images from different angles.

In angiogram procedure, doctor will insert an IV line in the vein of your arm to give you sedative and thereby, allow you to relax. In addition, doctors give you other necessary fluids and medications if required. This time, although you will feel sleepy and may drift towards sleep during the actual procedure, you will still be able to stay awake to follow the necessary instructions.

Medical assistants and the doctor will place electrodes on the chest to track your heart during the complete angiogram procedure. In addition, you will find a suitable blood pressure cuff to track the blood pressure and an additional device referred as a pulse oximeter that measures the exact amount of oxygen present in the blood.

Next, doctors may shave some hair from your arm or hair to insert a catheter or a flexible tube. They wash and disinfect the area and later on, numb it by using a suitable local anesthesia injection.

Surgeons make a small incision at the entry point and insert a small size of plastic tube referred as sheath within the artery. In this way, they insert the catheter from the sheath present in the blood vessel and thread it carefully to your coronary and heart arteries.

During the threading of catheter, you would not feel any feel or feel it as moving through your entire body. However, you should make sure to talk with your health care team in case of feeling any discomfort.

Lastly in the angiogram procedure, doctors inject a contrast material or a dye from the catheter, because of which you may feel a sensation of either warmth or flushing.

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