Coronary Angiography, Coronary Angioplasty and Stenting

Coronary angiogram is a diagnostic test performed to visualise the heart arteries (coronary arteries) in order to identify the location and exclude blockages.

How is the procedure performed?

You will be given instructions to attend the hospital fasted (no food or drink for 4 hours prior to your procedure). You may drink a little water to take with your medications. An intravenous line (cannula) is inserted into your arm. You may be given a mild sedative through the cannula before the procedure starts.

The cardiologist will then insert a thin tube (catheter) into a blood vessel(artery) in your arm or groin after administering a local anaesthetic to numb the skin and tissues. Dye is then injected into the catheter to light up the coronary arteries while x-ray pictures are taken and images displayed on a computer. Dye may also be injected into the heart’s pumping chambers in order to see how well the heart muscle is contracting and how well the valves are working.

If required, a small balloon and/or scaffold (stent) may be deployed across blockages in the coronary arteries.

Once the required treatment and information has been collected, the catheter is removed and firm pressure is applied to the entry site in your arm or groin for approximately 10-30 minutes. Most patients will be discharged within 24-hours of their procedure, but some may need further in-patient stay or outpatient tests and further procedures.

Are there risks with Coronary Angiography, Coronary Angioplasty and Stenting?

As with most procedures done on your heart and blood vessels, coronary angiography and stenting has some risks. Major complications are rare, though. Potential risks and complications include:

  1. Heart attack
  2. Stroke
  3. Injury to the blood vessels
  4. Irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias)
  5. Allergic reactions to the dye or medications used during the procedure
  6. A tear in your heart or artery
  7. Kidney damage
  8. Excessive bleeding
  9. Infection
  10. Radiation exposure from the X-rays