In our catheterization (cath) lab, we perform coronary angiograms and angioplasties every day. We are the only hospital in the area to offer full-time surgical backup for all cardiac procedures. We also are equipped to perform specialized procedures, including intravascular ultrasound, where we are able to view the inside of arteries using a special ultrasound machine.
A coronary angiogram is a procedure that uses X-ray imaging to see your heart’s blood vessels. During a coronary angiogram, a type of dye that’s visible by an X-ray machine is injected into the blood vessels of your heart. The X-ray machine rapidly takes a series of images that provide a detailed look at the inside of your blood vessels.
For the procedure, you lie on your back on an X-ray table, and an IV line will be inserted into your arm. You will be given a sedative to relax but will remain awake. A small incision is made at the entry site, and a short plastic tube (sheath) is inserted into your artery. The catheter is inserted through the sheath into your blood vessel and carefully threaded to your heart or coronary arteries.
Dye (contrast material) is injected through the catheter. The dye is easy to see on X-ray images, and as it moves through your blood vessels, your doctor can observe its flow and identify any blockages or constricted areas. Depending on what your doctor discovers during your angiogram, you may have additional catheter procedures at the same time, such as a coronary angioplasty or a stent placement to open up a narrowed artery.
After an angiogram, you be taken to a recovery area for monitoring. You will need to lie flat for several hours. You may be able to go home the same day or may need to remain at the hospital overnight. Your health care team will let you know when you can safely resume normal activities.
A coronary angioplasty is a procedure used to open clogged heart arteries. Angioplasty involves temporarily inserting and inflating a tiny balloon where your artery is clogged to help widen the artery.
Your body isn't cut open except for a small incision in the skin over a blood vessel in the leg, arm or wrist through which a small, thin tube (catheter) is threaded and the procedure performed. You might feel pressure in the area where the catheter is inserted, but you shouldn’t feel sharp pain.
A small balloon at the end of the catheter is inflated, widening the blocked artery. After the artery is stretched, the balloon is deflated and removed. Your doctor might inflate and deflate the balloon several times before it's removed, stretching the artery a bit more each time.
Angioplasty can take 30 minutes to several hours, depending on the difficulty and number of blockages and whether any complications arise.
You will need to remain in the hospital after coronary angioplasty so we can monitor your heart and adjust medications. Your health care team will let you know when you can safely resume normal activities.