Angiography is a special type of moving X-ray that lets your doctor view your coronary
arteries to see if the blood vessels to your heart are narrowed or blocked. This test
done when someone is having a heart attack. Or it may be done if symptoms may mean
attack. It also may be done after an abnormal cardiac stress test.
Tell your healthcare team what medicines you
take and any allergies you may have.
Tell your healthcare team if you've had a
reaction to contrast dye or have had any kidney problems.
Follow any directions you are given for not
eating or drinking before surgery.
A nurse will place an IV (intravenous) catheter
in your vein to give fluids, and medicine to relieve pain and help you feel less
They clean your skin and shave the area where
the catheter will be inserted, if needed.
- You will lie on a table with a portable X-ray machine over you.
The team will place a surgical drape over your body. The area where the doctor
chooses to insert the catheter will be cleaned. This will be either a wrist or the
Your doctor will place a long, thin tube
(catheter) inside an artery in your groin or arm and guide it into your heart. You
may feel pressure with the insertion of the catheter. A numbing medicine often is
injected at the insertion site. This eases discomfort during the procedure.
They will inject a contrast dye through the
catheter into your blood vessels or heart chambers. You may feel a warm sensation
or feeling like you have to urinate when the contrast is injected. This is normal.
X-rays are taken to show images of the inside of
your heart and coronary arteries.
Your healthcare team will tell you how long to
lie down and keep the insertion site still. The amount of time may depend on
whether a closure device such as a stitch or collagen plug was used to close the
opening made in your artery. The time you must be still may be shorter if one of
these devices was used. The amount of time will also depend on if there is any
bleeding at the catheter insertion site.
If the insertion site was in your groin, you may
need to lie down with your leg still for several hours. If the insertion site was
in your wrist, a pressure bandage may be put on the site. Or you may have closure
device placed on the insertion site. It will be taken off when there is no sign of
bleeding. If bleeding occurs, a nurse will put pressure on the area to control
A nurse will check your blood pressure and the
insertion site often. This is to make sure you remain stable after the
You may be asked to drink fluid to help flush
the contrast liquid out of your system.
Have someone drive you home from the
If your doctor uses angioplasty or a stent to
treat a blocked artery, you may stay the night in the hospital. If there are
multiple blockages that can't be fixed with a stent or angioplasty, you may need
surgery to bypass the blockages. This is called coronary artery bypass graft
surgery. Your doctor will explain the results of your test and what treatment
options that may be best for you.
It’s normal to find a small bruise or lump at
the insertion site. The lump may be the collagen plug or stitch that you feel, or
a small bruise. These common side effects should disappear within a few weeks.
- You will be given instructions by your healthcare team on
recovering from the coronary angiography. In general, don't lift anything heavier
than a gallon of milk for several days. This gives time for the puncture site in the
artery wall to heal. Try not to get the puncture site wet. Don't put it under water.
Showers are OK. Don't soak in a bathtub, swimming pool, or hot tub until the skin
When to call your healthcare
Call your healthcare provider right
away if you have any of these:
Symptoms of infection. These include pain, swelling, redness, bleeding, or
drainage at the insertion site.
Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as advised by your provider
Bleeding, bruising, or a lot of swelling where the catheter was
Blood in your urine
Black or tarry stools
Any unusual bleeding
Irregular, very slow, or fast heartbeat
911if any of
Shortness of breath
Sudden numbness or weakness in arms, legs, or face, or
The puncture site swells up very fast
Bleeding from the puncture site that does not slow down with
- Severe or increasing pain, numbness, coldness, or a bluish
color in the leg or arm that held the catheter
Online Medical Reviewer: Steven Kang MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Callie Tayrien RN MSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Stacey Wojcik MBA BSN RN
Date Last Reviewed:
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