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Coronary Angiography or Coronary Angiogram (CAG)

Coronary angiography is an X-ray examination using a special dye (contrast material) of the blood vessels or chambers of the heart to see how blood flows through your heart. Another name for this test is coronary arteriography.

The purpose of a coronary angiography or heart angiography is to find a blockage in the coronary arteries, which can lead to heart attack. It may be done if you have unstable angina, atypical chest pain, aortic stenosis, or unexplained heart failure. The test can show how many coronary arteries are blocked, where they are blocked, and the severity of the blockages. If a blockage is found, your health care provider may perform a percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) to open the blockage. This can be done during the same procedure.

Coronary angiography is usually done along with cardiac catheterization, which involves passing a thin flexible tube (catheter) into the right or left side of the heart, usually from the groin or the arm.

 

Procedure details

Coronary Angiography Procedure

Before the test starts, you will be given a mild sedative to help you relax.

An area of your body, usually the arm or groin, is cleaned and numbed with a local numbing medicine (anesthetic). The cardiologist passes a thin hollow tube, called a catheter, through an artery and carefully moves it up into the heart. X-ray images help the doctor position the catheter.

Once the catheter is in place, dye (contrast material) is injected into the catheter. Coronary arteries cannot be seen on a plain X-ray. Therefore, a special dye is injected into the bloodstream during coronary angiography to make the coronary arteries show up on an X-ray. X-ray images are then taken to see how the dye moves through the artery. The dye helps highlight any blockages in blood flow. The pictures that are obtained are called angiograms.

After the test, the catheter is removed.

The coronary angiography procedure may last 30 to 60 minutes.

 

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