An angiogram or angioplasty uses a long, hollow tube called a catheter to diagnose and sometimes treat problems of the heart and coronary blood vessels and arteries. This process can be performed during a diagnostic cardiac catheterization when a blockage is identified, or it may be scheduled after a catheterization has confirmed the presence of coronary artery disease. Having an angiogram may be frightening, especially if it is an emergency procedure to detect a blockage. But an angiogram is a routine procedure that is generally safe and painless. If your doctor has decided to perform an angiogram, it may be necessary to save your life. After the angiogram, there are several things that you can do to make sure that you recover well.
During an angiogram, a doctor injects a dye into a catheter that is inserted into one of the arteries leading to your heart, lungs, brain, arms, legs, or kidneys. This procedure helps doctors determine how well the blood is flowing to a certain area and it may also help them to detect potentially life-threatening blockages.
- Your doctor may use a local or common anesthetic to perform an angiogram
- The procedure takes between 30 minutes and two hours.
- You may be capable to return home soon after the procedure, as long as no blockages are detected.
- The procedure is safe and generally painless, but you might have some bruising around the area where the catheter was inserted.
After your angiogram is over, you will have to stay in the hospital for several hours or possibly overnight. While you are in the hospital, you will be instructed to rest. Resting is significant because too much movement may reason bleeding from where the catheter was inserted.
- Limit your movement as much as possible. Stay in bed until you are told you may get up and walk. Do not walk around after an angiogram until your doctor says you may.
- You will be monitored for 6 hours after your procedure.
- Sometimes the catheter will be left in place and removed the following morning. If the catheter is in one of your legs, you will need to keep them elevated.
You may not require any medication if no blockage was detected. If a blockage was detected, you may need to take a blood thinner for about a year after your procedure. Make sure to follow your doctor’s instructions and take your medication every day.
Tell your doctor immediately if you notice any unusual side effects-
An angiogram is generally a safe procedure with minimal complications. If you experience any unusual side effects after having an angioplasty, you should tell your doctor or a nurse right away. Some side effects need to be treated right away to avoid a life-threatening condition.
- Excessive bleeding from the place that the catheter was inserted. A little bit of blood after an angiogram is usual, but there may be a problem if the blood can’t be stopped with a small bandage.
- Pain, swelling, or redness where the catheter was inserted. You may have a bit of pain after an angiogram, but there may be a problem if the catheter site is very painful or if you also have swelling and/or redness