Once your doctor has ordered your angiography there are some things you’ll need to remember. First, don’t eat or drink anything prior to the procedure. And second, make sure you discuss with your cardiologist which medications you are on and whether you should take them the morning of your test. In some cases, angiograms are performed in an emergency setting, but most often you have time in advance to prepare for the test.
During The Test
Since the angiogram is a test using X-ray technology, your test will take place on an X-ray table. Once you’re on the table the technician place electrodes on your chest to monitor your heart throughout the procedure as well as devices to measure your blood pressure, pulse, and blood oxygen levels. The exam begins when a small incision is made (usually in the groin area) and a small catheter is inserted into the artery. That catheter is then snaked through your body until it makes it to your heart. While that may sound unsettling, you shouldn’t be able to feel this. Once the tube makes its way to its destination a contrast dye that can be seen on X-rays is released into the veins and arteries around your heart. This procedure gives your cardiologist a good look at the way blood is flowing through your arteries to determine whether or not an angioplasty or other procedure may be required.
After The Test
Your angiography should take approximately one hour and you will remain awake during the whole procedure. One your test is complete and the catheter is removed you will life flat for several hours to prevent bleeding from the incision. Your physician will give you strict instructions on how to care for your incision after the procedure. And don’t be surprised if the area in your groin feels somewhat tender for several days after.
Angiography is a safe and easy test that can provide your cardiologist with a lot of important information about your heart health. Hopefully, this article provides you with plenty of information about your upcoming test. But as always we urge you to ask questions of your doctors to ensure that you understand what to expect and how to care for yourself. If you’d like more information about your upcoming angiogram, or would like to connect with one of our cardiologists, contact us today.