An angiogram (also called cardiac catheterisation) is a procedure used to give a picture of your blood vessels and organs. It allows your doctor to identify if there are any narrowed arteries, and how severe they are. Angiography can also give information about how effectively your heart is pumping and about the blood pressure inside your heart.
You may be asked to stop eating and drinking for a few hours before the test.
Please arrive 15 minutes before your appointment time; if you are late we may not be able to carry out your test. Please do not bring children with you to your appointment.
If you need help because you speak a different language, or you would like a friend, relative or carer to come with you, please let us know.
If you take warfarin, you will need to stop this for 2-3 days before the test. (To prevent excessive bleeding where the catheter is inserted).
If you take insulin or drugs for diabetes, the timing of when to take these on the day of the test may need to be clarified.
If you may be pregnant, you need to tell the doctor who will do the test.
On arrival one of our staff will explain the procedure to you, run through a simple safety questionnaire and answer any further questions you may have.
You will then be given a local anaesthetic in the arm or groin, where a catheter (a thin, flexible tube) will be inserted into the artery. Using an x-ray, the catheter will be directed through the blood vessels until it reaches the area under investigation. This procedure is performed under the supervision of a cardiologist.
A special dye will then be passed through the catheter. You might feel a hot, flushing sensation from the dye. The dye highlights any narrowed areas or blockages in the artery, and is viewed on screen or on a series of rapidly recorded X-Rays.
During your procedure, you'll be monitored by a heart monitor that records your heart rate and rhythm, but if you feel unwell or experience discomfort at any time, you should tell a member of the hospital staff.
After the procedure, the catheter will be removed and you might have a small amount of bleeding. If so, the nurse or doctor will press on the area for a little while or insert a plug called an angioseal.
You may experience some bruising around the area where the catheter was inserted, and it may be tender for a few days. The results of the procedure will be interpreted by a cardiologist and forwarded to your referring doctor. You should telephone to confirm that they have received your report before arranging an appointment, unless the doctor has made different arrangements with you.