Coronary Angiogram

Where is the aortic valve?

This procedure is performed to show any narrowing or blockage of your coronary arteries.

How is it done?

The procedure begins with an injection of local anaesthetic, a fine tube (catheter) is put into the artery in the groin or arm. The tube is then passed into each coronary artery. A series of pictures are taken using X-Rays and a contrast medium (X-Ray dye).

Contrast medium is also injected into the main pumping chamber of the heart (left ventricle). This is used to measure the size of the heart and how well it is pumping.

You may have an Intravascular Ultrasound (IVUS) which uses soundwaves to produce an image of the coronary arteries to see their condition. This is done whilst the catheter is in the artery.

At the end of the angiogram, the puncture in the artery in the groin or arm may be closed with a special plug to stop the bleeding.

After the angiogram has been completed, if significant coronary artery disease is found your doctor will then discuss with you which treatment my be best for you. This may be a procedure called an Angioplasty (the arteries are widened using a small sausage-shaped balloon) or an operation such as a Coronary Artery Bypass Graft. Sometimes medications alone may be the best treatment option.

How do I prepare?

No food or drink 3 hours prior to the procedure
Please notify the doctor if you have any allergies
Please bring a list of all your current medications
Please ensure that somebody accompanies you on the day as you will be unable to drive for 24 hours following the procedure

After the procedure

You may have some bruising and soreness around the access site
Do not drive for 24 hours after the procedure
Do not lift objects over 5kg for 3-4 days after your procedure
Notify your Doctor or present at the emergency department if you have any significant bleeding, pain or fevers
Notify your Doctor if you have any significant chest pain or angina

What are the risks?

In recommending this procedure, your doctor has balanced the benefits and risks of the procedure against the benefits and risks of not proceeding. Your doctor believes there is a net benefit to you going ahead. This is a very complicated assessment.

Common risks (more than 5%) include –

  • minor bruising at the puncture site
  • loss of pulse in the arm after a radial artery (arm) procedure
  • major bruising or swelling at the groin/arm puncture site

Rare risks (less than 1%) include –

  • abnormal heart rhythm that continues for a long time. this may need an electric shock to correct.
  • surgical repair of the groin/arm puncture site or blood vessel
  • minor reaction to the X-Ray dye such as hives
  • loss of kidney function due to the side effects of the X-Ray dye
  • stroke. This can cause long term disability.
  • heart attack
  • an allergic reaction to the X-Ray dye
  • need for emergency heart surgery or angioplasty
  • a higher lifetime risk from X-Ray exposure
  • death as a result of this procedure is very rare

If you have any further questions, please contact us at:

Queensland Cardiology
St Vincent’s Private Hospital Northside
North Medical Suites, Green Lifts Level 3,
627 Rode Road
Chermside Q 4032
(07) 3861 5522