Coronary Angiography

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Coronary Angiography

Coronary angiography is a type of x-ray to check the heart and nearby blood vessels.


Cardiac angiography can help diagnose/investigate several heart problems, such as,


  • Atherosclerosis-narrowing of the arteries, which could mean you’re at risk of having a stroke or heart attack
  • Angina-chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to the heart muscles
  • Aneurysm – a section of a blood vessel wall bulges outwards due to a weakness in the wall
  • Blood clots or pulmonary embolism– a blockage in the artery supplying your lungs


Angiography may also be used to help plan treatment for some of these conditions. 


Blood vessels do not show clearly on a normal X-ray, so a special dye called a contrast agent needs to be injected into your blood first. This highlights your blood vessels, allowing your doctor to see any problems. 

Occasionally, angiography may be done using scans instead of X-rays. These are called CT angiography or MRI angiography.


What does the procedure involve?

Angiography is done in a hospital X-ray or radiology department.

For the test:

  1. You’ll usually be awake but may be given a medicine called a sedative to help you relax
  2. You lie on an X-ray table, and a small cut (incision) is made over 1 of your arteries, usually near your groin or wrist – local anaesthesia is used to numb the area where the cut is made
  3. A very thin flexible tube (catheter) is inserted into the artery
  4. The catheter is carefully guided to the area that’s being examined (such as the heart)
  5. A contrast agent (dye) is injected into the catheter
  6. A series of X-rays are taken as contrast agent flows through your blood vessels


The test can take between 30 minutes and 2 hours. You’ll usually be able to go home a few hours afterwards.


The procedure is generally safe and painless, and the risks of serious complications are low.