At Your Appointment
Heart Failure Appointment Guide
What is coronary angiography?
Coronary angiography is a procedure that allows your doctor to take a picture or image (an angiogram) of the blood vessels (arteries) that supply your heart muscle. Doctors use coronary angiography to study the arteries of your heart that are obstructed, blocked, or narrowed, and diagnose the underlying cause.
Coronary angiography is only one method used to diagnose a variety of heart and vascular diseases, and conditions. Discuss all the testing options with your doctor understand which options are right for you.
Types of coronary angiography
The types of coronary angiography procedures include:
Catheter coronary angiography involves inserting a catheter into a vessel in your groin or arm. The catheter wire is then fed, or guided to the area to be examined. X-rays are used to produce the angiogram or picture of the vessel.
Noninvasive coronary angiography uses computed tomography (CT), or sometimes magnetic resonance imagining (MRI) or ultrasound, to produce the angiogram. CT involves radiation exposure but MRI and ultrasound methods do not.
Catheter coronary angiography, and in some cases, noninvasive coronary angiography, use a contrast agent, sometimes called a dye. This is administered intravenously (through an IV). The contrast agent improves the quality of the image.
Other procedures that may be performed
The following catheter procedures can be performed during a catheter coronary angiography:
Angioplasty to widen a narrowed or obstructed vessel
Blood clot removal by injecting clot-dissolving medications into the artery via the catheter
Cardiac catheterization to examine the interior of the heart chambers, the heart valves, and evaluate heart function
Stent placement with a mesh tube, which is permanently inserted into the blood vessel to keep the vessel open
These procedures cannot be performed during noninvasive coronary angiography because it does not use a catheter. Your doctor may recommend a catheter procedure or surgery if a noninvasive coronary angiography diagnoses serious heart disease.
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