Cardiology / Cardiac Surgeries
Angiography is derived from the Greek term 'angeion' meaning vessel and 'graphein' which means to writ. Angiography or arteriography is a technique of medical imaging where an X-Ray is taken of the heart to visualize the inner opening of the arteries, veins and the four heart chambers, right atrium, right ventricle, left atrium and left ventricle. Angiography or angiogram requires the insertion of a catheter, a thin tube into a peripheral artery.
A waxy substance called plaque (plak) can build up inside the coronary arteries. The buildup of plaque in the coronary arteries is called coronary heart disease (CHD).
Over time, plaque can harden or rupture (break open). Hardened plaque narrows the coronary arteries and reduces the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart. This can cause chest pain or discomfort called angina.
If the plaque ruptures, a blood clot can form on its surface. A large blood clot can mostly or completely block blood flow through a coronary artery. This is the most common cause of a heart attack.Over time, ruptured plaque also hardens and narrows the coronary arteries.
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Cardiac Catheterization Procedure
Simple Coronary Angiography usually takes about half an hour to complete. Coronary Angiography or Coronary Catheterization is a minimally invasive procedure to access the coronary flow and blood chambers of the heart using a catheter. Coronary Catheterization was first introduced in 1950s.During coronary angiography, special dye is released into the bloodstream. The dye makes the coronary arteries visible on x-ray pictures. This helps doctors see blockages in the arteries. A procedure called cardiac catheterization is used to get the dye into the coronary arteries.
For this procedure, a thin, flexible tube called a catheter is put into a blood vessel in your arm, groin (upper thigh), or neck. The tube is threaded into your coronary arteries, and the dye is released into your bloodstream. X-ray pictures are taken while the dye is flowing through the coronary arteries.
During Coronary Catheterization a patient’s blood pressure and X-Ray shadow-grams of the blood in the coronary arteries are recorded. To record the X-Ray images, a cardiologist guides a catheter through the large blood arteries till the tip of the catheter reaches the opening of the coronary arteries.
Catheters are made with a high radio density making it opaque to X-Rays allowing a clearer, blood compatible X-Ray dye to be selectively injected and mixed with the blood flowing in the artery. Without the X-Ray dye, the blood and internal structure of the heart is not clearly visible. The cardiologist activates the equipment to apply cine, a higher X-Ray dose when he/she is ready to record the diagnostic views. The diagnostic views can be saved and studied later.
Hospitals use CT Angiography or Coronary Computed Tomography Angiography, as a non- invasive method to detect blockages in the coronary arteries.
Who Needs Coronary Angiography?
Your doctor may recommend coronary angiography if patient have:
Coronary angiography also might be done on an emergency basis, such as during a heart attack. If angiography shows blockages in your coronary arteries, your doctor may do a procedure called angioplasty (AN-jee-oh-plas-tee). This procedure can open blocked heart arteries and prevent further heart damage.
Coronary angiography also can help your doctor plan treatment after you’ve had a heart attack, especially if you have major heart damage or if you’re still having chest pain.
First and foremost thing for the patient, before thinking of Coronary Cardiac CT Angiography is that he should consult his doctor. Because, the usage of Coronary CTA is quite appropriate and scans during the process from X-ray exposures, there is some risk involved. It is the responsibility of the doctor that he should do careful selection of the patient so that any kind of risk involved, is reduced.
What To Expect Before Coronary Angiography
Before having coronary angiography, discuss with doctor about:
Doctor will tell you exactly which procedures will be done. For example, your doctor may recommend coronary angioplasty if the angiography shows a blocked artery.
Benefits of Coronary Catheterization:
What To Expect After Coronary Angiography
After the procedure, the patient is moved to the special care area in the hospital.Patient will be carefully watched for several hours or overnight. During this time, patient will need to limit patient’s movement to avoid bleeding from the site where the catheter was inserted.
While patient recover in the special care area, nurses will check patient’s heart rate and blood pressure regularly. They’ll also watch for any bleeding at the catheter insertion site.
It is also possible that the area where the catheter was inserted, that area might become tender or sore for around a week’s time. A small bruise may also appear on the patient’s arms, upper thigh or neck, near the site of insertion.
Let doctor know if patient develop problems such as:
Your doctor will tell you whether you should avoid certain activities, such as heavy lifting, for a short time after the test.
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