What is an Angiogram?
An angiogram is a type of X ray that has been modified and adapted in certain ways to make them especially appropriate for imaging blood vessels. Because the image that appears on normal X rays is dependent on how dense each tissue is blood vessels are near impossible to distinguish. However through the use of contrasts agents radiographers can create images whereby it is easy to study the form and structure of your blood vessels.
How is an Angiogram performed?
Local anaesthetic is used to numb the area around a suitable vein in your arm through which a catheter can be inserted. Via an IV line you may be given sedatives or other drugs as deemed appropriate in order to make the procedure more comfortable, the entirety of which takes place with a number of cardiac monitoring devices such as a blood pressure monitor and ECG.
Once you are prepared, a catheter is inserted into an artery in either your wrist or grain and with the X-ray guidance directed in such a way that it can release the contrast agent and map appropriate arteries. You shouldn’t feel any pain or anything beyond mild discomfort, however upon releasing the contrast you may feel a slightly warm sensation.
How to prepare for an Angiogram?
It is worth consulting friends who have undergone angiography, or your cardiologist or GP, in order to allay any anxieties you may have regarding the procedure.
Additionally if you take certain mediations such as anticoagulants or diabetes medications you will be given alternative instructions regarding their use prior to the procedure.
What happens after an Angiogram?
Following the procedure you will be taken to a separate ward where you will be allowed to recover. Most of the time people are able to leave the hospital the same day however occasionally, such as if you present with complications or if you underwent angiography as an emergency procedure, you may have to stay in hospital for a longer period of time.