Coronary Angiogram

A coronary angiogram is a procedure that enables your doctor to visualize the arteries in your heart.  This procedure is performed in a hospital with a cardiac catheterization lab facility. 

On the day of the procedure, you will be admitted to hospital in the morning and will be told not to eat or drink anything for 12 hours prior to admission. You will be taken to the cath lab where the personnel are usually dressed in operation theatre clothing.  The area of access, (the wrist or groin) will be shaved.  You will then be taken on the operating table and covered with sterile drapes.  The area of access will be sterilized.  A small injection of a local aesthetic will be given and the artery - (radial or femoral) will be cannulated and a catheter passed upto the heart.  Dye will then be injected and pictures taken in various views to best visualize the problem areas.  The test usually takes 10 to 15 minutes.

At the end of the procedure, the catheter will be removed and a pressure tape applied to the area.  You will be fully conscious and can consume liquids and solids immediately after the test.  After a period of rest (3 to 6 hours) you will be discharged with a report and a cd which give the results of the test and further recommendations.

A patient is usually discharged 3 hours after a radial procedure (wrist) and 6 hours after a femoral procedure (groin).

The advantage of the radial procedure is that there are lesser chances of bleeding or bruising.  The patient can be mobilized immediately after the angiogram and is discharged within 3 hours.  There is also less embarrassment as there is no exposure of the groin.