Patient Education In Critical Care

What About Coronary Angiogram!

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What Is a Coronary

Why do I need this test?

A coronary angiogram (AN-jee-o-gram) is
a special x-ray test. It's done to find the spot
where one of the arteries of your heart is clogged.
The Arteries can get blocked with fat cells, or
some hard stuff called plaque (Plak). This stuff
can block the flow of blood to your heart.
When this happens you can have heart (chest)
pain. You may have a heart attack.

An angiogram is done to see how clogged
the artery is and to see if you need treatment
such as angioplasty (AN'-jee-o-PLAS-tee),
coronary artery bypass surgery or medical
therapy. Sometimes treatment isn't neces-
sary and you can get your heart back in
shape by lowering your blood pressure,
stopping smoking, reducing the cholesterol
in your blood, and staying physically active.

What might I feel?

  • Slight pressure as the catheter is put in
  • Some chest pain or discomfort as the fluid
    goes in
  • Shortness of breath
    Warm, tingly feeling when fluid goes in
  • An urge to go to the bathroom
  • Nausea

What happens in the test?
  • You may be given medicine to relax you.
  • You go to the hospital's heart catheteriza-
    tion (KATH-e-ter-i-ZAY-shun) laboratory, or
    "cath lab."
  • You lie,on a hard table near a camera and
    other equipment.
  • Your doctor numbs a spot on your groin or arm
    and inserts a thin tube, or catheter (KAfH-
    e-ter), into an artery and up to the heart.
  • Special fluid goes through the catheter so
    arteries show up well on the x-ray.
  • Many x-rays are taken as the fluid goes
    through the artery.
  • You may be asked to hold your breath or
  • By studying the x-ray, the doctor can see
    any problems with your coronary arteries.
  • If you wish, you can watch the x-ray on the
  • The catheter would pass through
    the aorta into the blood vessels
    l ocated on the surface of the heart,
    known as the coronary arteries.
    Dye injected into the blood vessels
    would be seen on x-ray. Any
    reduction in blood supply would
    show up as a narrowing or
    constriction of the blood vessel.
    Additionally, the catheter would
    pass inside the heart to assess the function of the
    heart valves, and finally into the cavity of the
    heart where the muscle pumping action of the
    heart could be evaluted.

What happens after the test?

  • The catheter will be taken out.
  • You will go back to your hospital room or CCU.
  • A nurse or doctor will apply direct pressure where
    the catheter was inserted for 15 to 30 minutes to
    make sure there is no internal bleeding.
  • You may feel sore where the catheter inserted
    or from lying on your back.
  • You will talk to your doctor about the results.
  • You will be asked to lie quietly on your
    back for several hours.

When You Go Home.

  • The area where the catheter was placed will be tender.
  • There may be slight bruise and you might feel a lump.
  • Bathe and do other activities as usual.
  • Bleeding, swelling, numbness or tingling around the spot
    where the catheter was placed.
  • These are common and go away in 2-3 weeks.

How can I learn more?

  • Talk to your doctor, nurse or health care professional.
    Or call your local American Heart Association at 1-800-242-8721.
  • If you have heart disease, members of your family also
    may be at higher risk. It's very important for them to
    make changes now to lower their risk.

How To Get Help:

  • Call: 661-1202 - Ask to speak to
    someone in the Emergency Room.