What is angiography?
The term Angio is used for vessel or Artery and Graphy means writing or recording. When we do record the patency of an artery it is called Angiography. In other words, Angiography is a type of X-Ray which is used to check the patency of an artery. Actually, arteries are not shown in simple X-Ray. A Dye is injected into the artery to visualize it, and frequent images are clicked to check the blockage.
These images give a clear picture if an artery is blocked or patent. Blockage can be partial or complete which indicates the risk and severity of the disease. Your dietary habits and bad foods for the heart leads to cholesterol deposits in arteries and cause such blockages.
Angiogram VS Angiography?
An angiogram is a procedure that is done to perform the angiography. In other words, an angiogram is a procedure and angiography is an outcome. There is no difference between Angiography and Angiogram, both are used as synonyms.
Why Angiography is Done?
If blood vessels are damaged or blocked, it can cause chest pain, heart attack, or brain stroke. Coronary Angiography is advised for patients with symptoms of a heart attack.
Angiography is done to check the blockage in the artery or patency of an artery. It helps the physician to determine the source of the problem and the extent of the damage to the artery. Basis the damage of blockage in a segment of the artery, the physician takes corrective to repair the artery and save the patient’s life.
Difference between Coronary Angiography and Coronary Angioplasty
Angiography gives real-time information on whether there is a partial blockage or a complete blockage in an artery. A blockage in the coronary artery causes acute myocardial infarction or Heart attack which required an emergency repair of the blocked artery to save the life. The repair of the coronary artery is called coronary angioplasty.
Can Angiography Do on the Heart only?
Angiography can be done on an artery of any organ. Coronary angiography is done on the arteries supplying blood to the heart. It checks if any blockage in the coronary artery. Similarly, Renal angiography is done to check the status of renal arteries (Renal artery does the blood supply to the kidney). Cerebral Angiography is done on brain arteries.
How Angiography is Done?
An Angiogram is an invasive procedure. A very thin flexible wire/tube or catheter is inserted into the artery. Generally, the Femoral artery or Radial artery is used to perform coronary angiography. The catheter is guided towards the area to be examined, and a contrast dye is injected into the catheter.
A series of X-Rays are taken with the dye flow into the artery. The physician records the filling defect in the artery if any. If there is a defect, it means there is a blockage in the artery. If dye passes through the artery without any filling defect, it means the artery is healthy and there is no blockage.
Is Angiography Painful?
Angiogram is done under local anesthesia. Your physician gives local anesthesia on your wrist or in the groin area. It depends on the preference of the physician to perform the angiogram and the anatomy of the artery. Anesthesia is given with a tiny needle, when the area is numb a small incision is given in the artery to insert the catheter.
The patient remains awake and can talk to his doctor during the procedure. Since it is an invasive procedure, so it is not without risk. There is a very small risk of catheter damage to the artery during the procedure. There can be any injury to the blood vessel’s wall. It can cause loose pieces or plaque to travel into the blood circulation which can lead to stroke.
How Much Time Does Angiography Take?
It is done by a cardiologist and it takes hardly 30 minutes to an hour of time. You will be monitored for 4-6 hours. It’s a daycare procedure and the patient can go home the same day of the procedure. If the physician found a blockage that can further damage the heart then Angioplasty is also done in the same sitting. A drug-eluting stent is placed in the blockage segment of the artery to regain the blood supply and prevent a heart attack.
Is there any Risk of Angiography?
An angiogram is generally a safe procedure. The outcome is uneventful in most of the cases but there are some risks also involved as with other invasive procedures. There are minor side effects always but can be serious major complications in rare cases.
You speak to your doctor if have any doubts. Because you will only have the procedure when the benefits outweigh the potential risk. Coronary Angiography is an emergency procedure when it comes to diagnosing a heart attack and always outweigh the risk of complications.