How is Angiogram Done & How Long Does it Take to Do an Angiogram?
A patient might be asked to take an angiogram test if he comes to the doctor with symptoms of Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) like chest pain or if the patient has suffered a heart attack. An angiogram can be used for the diagnostic purposes of various illnesses as it shows detailed pictures of arteries inside the patient's brain, heart and kidney.
It also helps to detect blockages in arteries.
What is the Procedure & How Long Does It Take to Do an Angiogram?
An angiogram is a medical technique used to examine the inside of blood vessels and organs of the patient's body to detect any blockages present in the arteries that curb the blood supply to various organs. Primarily, the process of an angiogram includes injecting an iodine dye commonly called the contrast medium into the blood vessel and viewing it under X-rays.
- After the patient has changed into a surgical gown, he/she will be asked to lie down on the table present in the angiography suite.
- Mild sedative is given to the patient to help him relax as the angiogram test continues.
- Local anesthesia is given to the patient either on the groin or wrist to numb the area.
- A small incision is made in the skin over one of the arteries usually on the wrist or groin according to the requirement.
- The medical team then inserts a thin and flexible tube called catheter into the artery which is threaded to the area to be examined.
Iodine dye is injected through the catheter which travels through the artery. The patient may feel hot flushes when this is done. This feeling lasts just for few seconds. A series of X-rays are taken as the dye flows through the blood vessels. The patient may be asked to stay still for clear pictures to come out. At times, the patient may be asked to take a deep breath and hold it during the X-rays.
The angiogram test in total takes about 30 minutes to one hour. At times it might take a little longer if the test is combined with other catheterization procedures. The duration of the angiogram test also depends on the patient's medical condition. It must be remembered that the whole procedure of an angiogram is painless, as it is done under local anaesthesia.
When to Expect the Angiogram Report?
The angiogram report is usually made on the day of the test itself. The report is either handed over to the patient or at times, is sent to the primary doctor directly. The primary doctor then discusses the result of the angiogram report with the patient and his family on the next follow-up date.
What to Expect after an Angiogram?
- Although angiogram is a one-day test, the patient might be asked to stay overnight in the hospital for observation.
- Since the process of angiogram includes an incision on the patient's skin, some bruising and soreness might be present for few days.
- Excessive movement of the affected area must be avoided.
- Intake of plenty of fluids by the patient after the angiogram test should be made sure.
- Ample amount of rest should be taken by the patient after an angiogram. This helps to prevent stress on the angiogram incision site.
- Lifting of heavy objects should be avoided for at least 24 hours after the angiogram test.
- Similarly, showering and driving should be avoided for a period of 24 hours after the angiogram test.
- The patient could be recommended to stop smoking.
- If the patient suffers from diabetes, he should check with his doctor about taking his usual medicines.