Coronary Angiogram

This is an investigation usually to look for narrowings or blockages in the coronary arteries.  It involves putting a tube into the artery in either the groin or the wrist using local anaesthetic.  Tubes are then passed along the artery to the heart where dye is injected into the coronary arteries and pictures taken.  A special X-ray camera is then moved around over the patient’s chest to get pictures of the arteries from different angles.  Once the pictures have been taken, decisions can be made as to whether there is any need to improve the blood supply to the heart muscle.  If it is felt that this needs to be done and can be done by Coronary Angioplasty– ballooning the artery and placing a metal cage (stent) to hold the artery open, this can be done there and then to save having to come back.  Sometimes it is better to stop once the pictures are taken and discuss the results.  Sometimes the pattern of narrowing is not suitable for coronary angioplasty and Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery (CABG) is recommended.