Diagnostic Cardiac Catheterization/Coronary Angiogram¬†
A coronary angiogram, also referred to as cardiac catheterization, is a special x-ray used to view the functioning of the heart. It assesses the position and severity of clogged arteries.¬† It is very useful in diagnosing serious heart conditions like aneurysms, arrthmyias, and birth defects.¬† A coronary angiogram helps the doctor decide the proper course of treatment. The procedure involves passing a thin flexible tube into the heart and injecting dye to watch the heart functioning in real time. While calculating the condition of the arteries and vessels, the procedure also is used to determine the blood pressure inside the heart and to collect blood samples.¬†
Anyone who has a heart condition may receive this test. The risks involved are high and should not be taken lightly. Up to two weeks prior to undergoing a coronary angiogram, the patient will receive a chest x-ray, blood tests, and an electrocardiogram test. The physician must be well aware of all medical conditions, especially asthma, kidney diseases, allergies to latex or medications, and diabetes. The health care provider should also know the kinds of medications the patient is taking, especially if they are blood thinners.¬†
How Is a Cardiac Catheterization/Coronary Angiogram Performed?
Whether inpatient or outpatient, it takes around thirty minutes, but pre-procedure preparation can take from one to two hours. A sedative is prescribed to calm the nerves of the patient, and a local anesthetic is applied, usually to the groin. The catheter is then inserted into the vein and guided via computer to the heart.¬† When it is in place, a dye is injected to make the sight of the arteries more vivid. Luckily, the patient is unable to feel the movement of the catheter through the veins during the cardiac catheterization.