Angiography and Angioplasty

A coronary angiography is the best test to diagnose coronary artery disease. It is done in a sterile operating theatre environment. Although it is an invasive test in general, an angiography is a very safe test. It involves placing a tube (called a catheter) either in the wrist or the groin and passing it up to the heart. Contrast dye is then injected into the arteries around the heart, and X-Ray pictures are taken. It is a day procedure. You will be awake during the test and will be given medication to help you relax. This test allows a very detailed look at the arteries around the heart, and narrowings or blockages can be well characterised. This allows the interventional cardiologist to plan the best form of treatment to prevent heart attacks and control any related symptoms you may have.

Coronary Angioplasty involves temporarily inserting and inflating a tiny balloon where your artery is clogged to help widen the artery. Angioplasty is often combined with the permanent placement of a stent to help prop the artery open and decrease its chance of narrowing again. Angioplasty can improve symptoms of blocked arteries, such as chest pain and shortness of breath. Angioplasty can also be used during a heart attack to quickly open a blocked artery and reduce the amount of damage to your heart.

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