What Is Coronary Angiography?
Coronary angiography (an-jee-OG-ra-fee) is a test
that uses dye and special x rays to show the inside of your coronary
arteries. The coronary arteries supply blood and oxygen to your heart.
A material called plaque (plak) can build up on the
inside walls of the coronary arteries and cause them to narrow. When this
happens, its called
artery disease (CAD). CAD can prevent enough blood from flowing to your
heart and can lead to angina (an-JI-nuh or AN-juh-nuh) (chest discomfort or
attack. Coronary angiography shows if you have CAD.
Most of the time, the coronary arteries cant
be seen on an x ray. During coronary angiography, a special dye is injected
into the bloodstream to make the coronary arteries show up on an x ray.
To deliver the dye to your coronary arteries, a
catheterization (KATH-e-ter-i-ZA-shun) is used. A long, thin, flexible tube
called a catheter is put into a blood vessel in your arm, groin (upper thigh),
or neck. The tube is then threaded into your coronary arteries, and the dye is
injected into your bloodstream. Special x rays are taken while the dye is
flowing through the coronary arteries.
Cardiologists (doctors who specialize in heart
problems) usually perform cardiac catheterizations in a hospital. Youre
awake during cardiac catheterization. The procedure usually causes little to no
pain, although you may feel some soreness in the blood vessel where your doctor
put the catheter.
Cardiac catheterization rarely causes serious