Cardiac disease is the common cause of death throughout the world. Among these, 85% of death are due to heart attack and stroke.
A heart attack occurs when the cholesterol plaque accumulates in the walls of the coronary arteries (blood vessels that deliver blood to the heart). People with the possible symptoms of a heart attack can confirm the diagnosis by coronary angiography. Coronary angiography is a procedure that combines contrast dye and X-rays to identify the blockages in the coronary arteries.
When is coronary angiography done?
Coronary angiography is an important part of clinical evaluation in patients who have:
- Persistent angina despite full medications
- Ischemic heart disease
- An abnormal heart stress test
- Unexplained congestive heart failure
- Acute myocardial infarction
- Large ventricular septal defects, which may increase the risk of heart failure
It is also used as a pre-operative procedure in individuals with scheduled heart surgery, who have a high risk of coronary artery disease.
Risks of coronary angiography:
The following are the possible complications associated with coronary angiography:
- Bleeding at the site of incision
- Blood clots
- Irregular heart rhythms
- Kidney damage
- Risk of stroke
What happens before the procedure?
Coronary angiography is usually performed on an emergency basis. If the procedure is scheduled in advance, then the person may need to follow these instructions:
- Inform about all the past and present medical conditions.
- Tell about the current medications.
- Notify the doctor regarding any allergies.
- Eight hours before the surgery avoid eating or drinking anything.
How is Coronary Angiography performed?
Before initiating the procedure, a sedative is given through the IV line to calm the person. Local anaesthesia is administered either on the arm or groin region.
Once the anaesthesia sets in, an incision is made to insert the catheter into the artery. By using the X-rays, the catheter is guided to reach the coronary artery. Once the catheter reaches the artery, a contrast dye is injected to highlight the blockage. This blockage is observed on the X-ray monitor.
What to expect after the procedure?
Once the catheter is removed, the incision will be closed with a manual clamp. For the first few hours, you will be in a recovery room, where your vitals are checked. You need to lie straight for a few hours to avoid bleeding from the incision site.
Before discharge, the doctor may give you the following instructions:
- Consume plenty of fluids to flush out the contrast dye from the body.
- Take the prescribed medications.
- Do not lift heavy weights for a few days
- Avoid strenuous activities for a couple of days.
- Have a healthy and well-balanced diet.
- Maintain healthy body weight.
When to seek medical attention?
Visit the doctor immediately on noticing any of the following symptoms:
- Infection at the site of catheter insertion
- Pain, discomfort, and inflammation at the incision site
- Change in the colour or temperature at the operated area (arm or leg)
- Weakness or dizziness
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath