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Angiogram (Cardiac Catheterization)

Pace Makers VideoWhat Does This Procedure Look For/Show

This procedure is used primarily to determine if there is blockage within the arteries of the heart. Occasionally the same procedure may be performed to assess for blockage within other arterial systems of the body. The catheter is a long thin tube, about the size of an IV which is introduced into the heart through a needle poke typically in the wrist, but occasionally for an artery in the groin.

If a blockage is discovered, the catheter can be swapped for a catheter with a balloon at the tip, which can be inflated to open the vessel. The balloon often has a stent covering it. When the stent is inflated it becomes a rigid tube that holds the vessel open and prevents the blockage from narrowing the vessel. The entire procedure is performed through the catheter and requires no surgery. The patient is sedated (asleep) during the procedure.

The procedure typically does not require general anesthesia, so that the patient continues to breathe on their own during the procedure.

How Long Does This Procedure Take

  • The angiogram usually takes 30-45 minutes to complete. If a blockage is discovered and a stent is deployed, the stent component of the procedure may take another 30-60 minutes to perform. The patient is asleep during the entirety of this procedure.

What Preparation is Required Prior To This Procedure

  • You will be asked not to eat or drink after midnight on the evening prior to the procedure.
  • You may take all of your normal medications prior to the procedure, unless directed otherwise by your cardiologist or the team performing the procedure.
  • You will be asked to remove your clothes and change into a gown prior to this procedure.
  • We recommend urinating just prior to this procedure so that you are comfortable during the procedure.

Who Performs/Interprets This Procedure

  • This procedure is performed by an interventional cardiologist, who is a cardiologist with advanced certification and training in catheter technology and stenting.


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