This is a minimally invasive procedure that is used to visualise the coronary arteries and assess the severity of any blockage and pinpoint the exact location. The procedure is now often performed via a small blood vessel in the arm (radial artery).
A short tube is placed in the artery under local anaesthetic. Wires and longer tubes (called catheters) are then passed through the small tube towards the heart. This is not usually painful. Contrast is then injected into the arteries of the heart. At the end of the procedure all equipment is removed from the body.
The procedure generally takes 10-20 minutes but may be longer if additional tests are performed at the same time as the angiogram. These include pressure wire assessment
(fractional flow reserve / instant wave-free ratio), intravascular ultrasound
(IVUS) and optical coherence tomography
There is a less than 1 in 100 risk of a serious complication developing during the procedure. Complications could include a heart attack, stroke or death, and result in the need for coronary artery bypass surgery. The risks and advantages will be discussed with you and you will be involved in the decision whether to proceed or not.
After the procedure you will be monitored for 2-4 hours and discharged home if all is well.