coronary angiogram | Dr Raghu

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Doctors use various diagnostic tests to assess cardiac health and diagnose conditions like coronary artery disease and heart failure. While a coronary angiogram is commonly used to identify these conditions, your doctor can prescribe other tests like CT coronary angiography. 

In our previous blogs, you can read more about the use cases and risks of coronary angiography. In this article, we’ll delve deeper into CT coronary angiography and understand why it’s crucial for people with cardiac ailments.

What Is CT Coronary Angiography?

CT coronary angiography is a type of CT scan that uses special dyes to evaluate the heart’s blood vessels. It can detect blockages in the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart. It can identify blockages that are too small for other methods, such as a regular angiogram or an electrocardiogram (ECG), to pick up.

CT Coronary Angiography

A CT coronary angiography scan aims to find any abnormal areas in your coronary arteries that could be causing stenosis (narrowing) or occlusion (blockage). It helps doctors identify underlying heart-related ailments and determine the right course of treatment.

How Does CT Coronary Angiography Work?

The test is usually done in a hospital or clinic. To begin with, the doctor or radiologist will start an intravenous (IV) line to administer the contrast dye. As the contrast flows through your veins, it will appear on the scan as bright white areas on a black background. It’ll help the doctor see your heart and coronary arteries. 

The test usually lasts about 30 minutes to one hour. The CT coronary angiogram procedure involves two scans: one with diastolic blood flow and another with systolic blood flow

When Is CT Coronary Angiography Used?

CT coronary angiography is used to diagnose a heart attack and evaluate blood flow in the heart. Also, doctors use it to detect blockages in arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle.

What Are the Risks of CT Coronary Angiography?

While CT coronary angiography is a non-invasive and safe procedure, it can cause the following side effects:

  • You may have an allergic reaction to the contrast dye.
  • Your body will be exposed to high levels of radiation, which can increase your risk of developing cancer.
  • You might have to pay out of pocket because the test isn’t always covered by insurance.
  • You might experience more anxiety and stress if the scans indicate blockages in your arteries.

What Should I Expect When Having CT Coronary Angiography?

If you are planning to get a CT coronary angiography, you should be prepared for the following:

  • The radiologist will ask you to change into a hospital gown.
  • The radiologist will give you an injection of a contrast dye.
  • You will lie on a table, and the table will move into the CT scanner.
  • The scan is painless and takes about 20 minutes.

Conclusion

CT coronary angiography is a painless and safe test that can help determine if you have blocked arteries. If you have chest pain, you should consider getting the test done as soon as possible because it may save your life.

Dr. C Raghu is a renowned cardiologist with decades of experience. He specializes in interventional cardiology and has treated thousands of patients with cardiac ailments. If you or anyone you know is experiencing symptoms like chest pain, breathlessness, palpitations, etc., reach out to Dr. Raghu today.

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      What Is Coronary Angiography?

      Coronary angiography is a procedure that uses X-rays to visualize and inspect arteries. It shows if there are any blocked arteries and how well your heart muscle is working.

      During this procedure, a catheter is inserted into an artery in your arm or groin and advanced into one of your coronary arteries. Thereafter, contrast dye is injected into the coronary artery to make it visible on X-ray images.

      The procedure can help identify blockages in the heart’s blood vessels and guide treatment decisions for patients at risk of developing heart disease or having a heart attack due to narrowed or blocked blood vessels that supply oxygenated blood to various organs.

      When Is Coronary Angiography Performed?

      Coronary angiography is typically performed if you have chest pain or other symptoms that suggest the presence of heart disease. If you have had a heart attack or have been diagnosed with coronary artery disease. It can be used in conjunction with an exercise stress test.

      How Is Coronary Angiography Done?

      If you’re scheduled for coronary angiography, here’s what you can expect:

      • The doctor will give you a sedative, usually in the form of an injection, at the start of your procedure.
      • They’ll insert a catheter into one of your arteries, either in your groin or wrist, and guide it through your blood vessels to reach your heart.
      • They’ll inject a special dye (contrast agent) into the coronary arteries that supply blood to your heart muscle so that they can see them clearly on X-rays taken after injecting this contrast agent.

      Where Is Coronary Angiography Performed?

      Coronary angiography is performed in a cath lab (catheterization laboratory). The cath lab is a room with special equipment for performing coronary angiography and other procedures that entail inserting a long, thin tube (called a catheter) into the blood vessels of your heart.

      Why Is Coronary Angiography So Common Nowadays?

      Advancements in medical science have made coronary angiography more accessible to patients. The procedure has become simple and the risk has reduced significantly. Also, unhealthy diets and lifestyle choices put more people at risk of developing cardiac ailments. That’s why coronary angiography is commonly performed now-a-days.

      What are the risks involved in Coronary angiography?

      In expert hands coronary angiography is a near-zero risk procedure. The risk of complications can be broadly categorized into:

      Less severe complications

      • bleeding under the skin at the wound site (haematoma) – this should improve after a few days, but contact your Cardiologist if you’re concerned. Application of ice packs would be helpful.
      • bruising – it’s common to have a bruise in your groin or arm for a few weeks. Application of ice packs would be helpful.
      • allergy to the contrast dye used, causing symptoms such as a rash and a headache – this is uncommon, but you should discuss any allergies with your cardiologist before having the procedure

      Severe complications

      The chance for developing a serious complication during coronary angiogram is 1 in 1000. People with serious underlying heart problems are most at risk. Discuss with your cardiologist about the risks before the procedure.

      • damage to the artery in the arm or groin in which the catheter was inserted, with the blood supply to the limb possibly being affected 
      • heart attack – a serious medical emergency where the heart’s blood supply is suddenly blocked 
      • stroke – a serious medical condition that occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted 
      • damage to the kidneys caused by the contrast dye 
      • tissue damage caused by X-ray radiation if the procedure is prolonged 
      • death

      In Conclusion

      Coronary angiography is used to diagnose and treat heart diseases, before cardiac surgery, angioplasty-stent procedures as well as other conditions such as aneurysms in blood vessels. It helps doctors identify underlying causes of heart failure and determine the proper course of treatment.

      Dr. C Raghu is a renowned cardiologist with decades of experience in interventional cardiology. He is one of the pioneers of trans-radial procedures in India. Consult him if someone is in need for coronary angiogram.

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          Coronary angiography is a common diagnostic test used by doctors to identify conditions, such as coronary artery disease and aneurysms. In our previous blog, we discussed how the procedure is carried out and when it’s used. Click here to check it out.

          coronary angiography

          Angiography is a minimally invasive procedure, which makes it extremely safe. However, it can involve a few minor side effects. The benefits outweigh the risks for most patients. However, in some cases, coronary angiography can result in serious complications.

          In this article, we’ll delve deeper into the risks and side effects associated with coronary angiography.

          Common Side Effects of Coronary Angiography

          If you’re planning to visit the doctor for an angiography, you can expect one or more of the following side effects:

          • Bruising
          • Swelling
          • A buildup of blood (resulting in a bump)

          All these symptoms are localized to the area where the cut was made for inserting the catheter. Most patients experience a gradual improvement in these side effects without medical intervention. You can take painkillers to relieve discomfort after the procedure.

          Complications of Coronary Angiography

          If you’re lucky, you’ll come out of coronary angiography with minor bruising and swelling. However, some patients develop the following complications:

          • An infection near the cut :- It makes the area around the cut red, swollen, and tender.
          • An allergic reaction to the dye :- It usually results in an itchy rash.

          In both cases, proper use of medications can help control the side effects. For instance, antibiotics can be used in the case of an infection. Similarly, your doctor might prescribe antihistamines if you experience an allergic reaction.

          It’s worth mentioning that coronary angiography comes with a few potential serious complications. These include:

          • Kidney damage (from the dye)
          • Cardiac arrest or stroke
          • Internal bleeding (due to damaged blood vessels)
          • Anaphylaxis (due to severe allergic response to the dye)

          The good news is that these complications are extremely rare (affecting less than one in every 1000 patients). Also, kidney damage due to angiography is usually temporary. Moreover, internal bleeding can be contained with the help of catheter based approaches.

          Seeking Medical Help

          Complications from coronary angiography are rare. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to consult your doctor if you notice anything unusual after the procedure. For instance, if the leg or arm where the cut was made looks pale or feels numb, it’s a cause for concern. Similarly, if you notice bleeding, redness, or a firm lump near the cut, it could indicate a potential infection. It’s always a good idea to watch out for these signs and consult your doctor for timely treatment.

          In Conclusion

          Coronary angiography is a safe and minimally invasive procedure. It can cause minor side effects, such as pain and swelling. However, in extreme cases, it can also lead to a heart attack or kidney damage. It’s crucial to talk to your doctor about the potential risks before going in for the procedure.

          Dr. C Raghu has more than two decades of experience in treating patients with different heart conditions. If you have queries or concerns about coronary angiography, feel free to reach out to Dr. Raghu today.

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            What Are the Risks of Coronary Angiography? – Blog

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