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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
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • 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
  • Infection
  • 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:

  • Bleeding
  • 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

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Carotid artery disease is a condition that arises when the fat deposits accumulate and block the blood vessels that deliver blood to the brain. People with carotid artery disease are at higher risk of developing stroke. So, to determine the risk and prevent the associated complications, a procedure known as cerebral angiography is recommended.

Cerebral angiography is a diagnostic procedure that uses X-rays to evaluate the blockage or any brain abnormalities in the carotid arteries (blood vessels in the brain and neck).

When is cerebral angiography recommended?

Cerebral angiography is recommended if the doctor suspects any of the following abnormalities within the brain:

  • An aneurysm
  • A dilated blood vessel in the brain
  • Brain tumour
  • Brain clot
  • Stroke

It is also used to evaluate arteries in the head and neck before undergoing any surgery; to provide additional information regarding any abnormalities that are not visible on other imaging tests, and as a minimally invasive procedure to treat vessel abnormalities.

In some cases, it is done to determine the underlying cause of the following symptoms:

  • Severe headache
  • Memory loss
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of balance or coordination
  • Weakness or numbness

Before the procedure:

Specific instructions are given before undergoing the procedure. These instructions may include:.

  • Any allergies
  • The use of current medicines, vitamins, and mineral supplement
  • The current medical conditions
  • Any food or dietary restrictions before the procedure.

What happens in the procedure?

Before initiating the procedure, the patient’s head is stabilized by using a strap, tape, or sandbags. Based on the age of the person, either local or general anaesthesia, is administered. Once the anaesthesia sets, the doctor will sterilize the groin region and make an incision. Under the guidance of X-rays, the catheter is passed into an artery in the neck.

Once the catheter is placed in the correct position, the contrast dye is injected to highlight the blockage. After the X-rays are done, the catheter is removed, and the incision is closed.

What to expect after the procedure?

Once the procedure is done, the vitals are monitored in a recovery room. The person would be instructed to keep the leg straight if the catheter is administered through the groin region. Pain and inflammation at the site of incision are common, which can be relieved by applying ice packs and taking the prescribed medicines.

What considerations should be taken after the test?

Cerebral angiography is a diagnostic procedure, so there are not much considerations. However, following the below-given tips may ease the discomfort associated with the test:

  • Have a healthy and well-balanced diet.
  • Do not lift heavyweight for a few days or as suggested by the doctor.
  • Perform normal activities 8 to 12 hours after the procedure.

Talk to the doctor:

Call the doctor immediately on noticing any of the following symptoms:

  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Infection at the catheter site
  • Shortness of breath
  • Skin rash
  • Slurred speech
  • Vision problems
  • Numbness in the face, arms, or leg muscles

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Cardiac catheterization is one of the most extensively performed cardiac procedures. If you have chest pain or irregular heartbeat, your doctor may recommend cardiac catheterization.

Cardiac catheterization is a minimally invasive procedure used to detect and treat cardiovascular diseases. This procedure involves the insertion of a catheter (a thin hollow tube) into the large arteries or veins present in the neck, arm or groin, which is then guided to the heart using a special X-ray. Once the catheter reaches the location, diagnostic tests or treatment procedures are carried out.

Why perform Cardiac Catheterization?

Cardiac catheterization is done to find the cause of the signs and symptoms of a heart problem or to treat or repair the heart damage.

This procedure is performed to:

  • Determine the pressure levels in the chambers of the heart.
  • Determine the heart function after a cardiac intervention.
  • Detect blockages in the coronary arteries (coronary angiography) or valve dysfunction.
  • Perform procedures such as angioplasty, ablation therapy or valve repair.
  • Obtain a small piece of heart tissue to examine under a microscope for detecting conditions affecting the heart muscle (cardiac biopsy).

What is the difference between Cardiac Catheterization and Coronary Angiography?

Catheterization is a procedure used to diagnose and treat various conditions. It involves the insertion of a catheter into the arteries and veins to reach the heart and to measure how much blood the heart pumps out, the pressure in each heart chamber, and to detect any defects in the heart. Also, various small instruments can be inserted into the catheter to view the interior of the blood vessels, to remove a tissue sample from the heart for further examination, etc.

Coronary angiography is a type of catheterization procedure, which involves analysing the arteries that supply the heart with oxygen-rich blood. This procedure involves the insertion of a catheter in the arm or the groin, which is threaded to reach the coronary arteries. During insertion, fluoroscopy (a continuous x-ray procedure) is used to guide the catheter to reach the precise position. After the catheter tip is at the right location, a contrast dye is injected into the coronary arteries. This dye can be seen on x-rays, and the outline of the arteries is viewed on a video screen.

How do I prepare for the procedure?

Inform your doctor about:

  • The medications that you are taking, especially blood-thinners or anti-inflammatory medications
  • Any medical conditions that you have
  • Allergies to any dyes or specific medications

Before the procedure:

  • Fast for at least 6 hours, as food and liquid increase the possibility of complications with general anaesthesia.
  • Empty your bladder before heading to the procedure.
  • Remove dentures and jewellery, as they may interfere with the imaging procedures.
  • Your general health status and vital signs will be monitored.

What happens during the procedure?

During cardiac catheterization, an IV cannula is inserted in your arm to administer medications. You will be given a mild sedative to help you relax during the procedure.

The general procedure of cardiac catheterization is given below:

  • The site of catheter insertion (usually the groin) is cleaned and shaved.
  • Usually, local anaesthesia is administered. General anaesthesia may be given before surgical procedures such as valve repair or ablation.
  • When the site of catheter insertion becomes numb, an incision is made, and the catheter is inserted using a catheter sheath.
  • Once the catheter reaches the heart, a dye is administered which outlines the vessels, valves and chambers of the heart.
  • The diagnostic tests or surgical procedures will then be performed for treating the condition.

Vital signs and electrocardiogram will be continuously monitored during the procedure.

Cardiac catheterization usually lasts for about 30 minutes. It may be longer if you are undergoing any other test or intervention using this procedure.

After the procedure is done, the catheter will be removed, and the incision will be closed by stitches. A sterile dressing will be used to prevent infection in the incision site.

What happens after the procedure?

Once the procedure is done, you will be asked to lie flat on the bed for 2-6 hours after the procedure. Your heart rate and blood pressure will be continuously monitored.

Once the anaesthesia wears off, you will be given pain medications. You will be asked to drink plenty of water to eliminate the dye that was administered. Usually, you will be asked to stay in the hospital for a few hours or a day.

After leaving the hospital, follow all the post-procedural instructions given by your doctor. You may resume your normal activities in a day’s time. Some soreness at the incision site is normal; it may reduce within a week.

What are the risks of Cardiac Catheterization?

Cardiac catheterization is a relatively safe procedure. However, like any other invasive procedure, some uncommon risks of this procedure are:

  • Infection
  • Blood clotting
  • Bruising at the incision site
  • Allergic reaction to dye
  • Arrhythmia
  • Air embolism
  • Stroke

Call your doctor if you experience:

  • Severe pain at the incision site
  • Signs of infection: redness, warmth, pus oozing or excessive swelling around the incision site
  • Numbness or tingling sensation in your limbs



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Copyright © 2019, Dr. Raghu. All rights reserved.
Designed & Developed by R R Deepak Kambhampati.



Copyright © 2019, Dr. Raghu. All rights reserved.
Designed & Developed by R R Deepak Kambhampati.