Coronary angiography is an imaging test, which helps to determine if the arteries that supply blood to the heart are narrowed or blocked. Angioplasty is a treatment that can improve the blood flow to the heart muscle by opening a narrowed or blocked coronary artery. SRV Group of Hospitals has in-house team of cardiologists and a well-equipped Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory (Cath lab) where hundreds of angiographies and angioplasties are carried out every month.
Coronary angiography maybe performed during or soon after a heart attack, or if a person is having chest pain or angina. This enables the team of cardiologists at SRV Group of Hospitals to understand the condition of heart and make informed decisions about further course of action such as medical treatment and lifestyle changes, angioplasty, or a bypass surgery.
Coronary angiography is done under an x-ray camera in a cath lab, which usually takes about 30-45 minutes. Catheter insertion for angiography takes place under local anaesthesia. Usually the insertion site selected is arm or groin which is cleaned and then a narrow tube (sheath) is inserted into the artery. The catheter is threaded through the sheath in the artery until it reaches the part of the aorta immediately outside the heart, where the coronary arteries begin. A small amount of dye is injected through the catheter to visualize the blockages on angiograms.
Cardiologists can carry out an angioplasty while having an angiography as part of the same procedure, if required. In angioplasty, a balloon and stent are placed in the narrowed part of artery. The balloon is inflated and the stent expands, pushing the plaque back against the artery wall, thereby, opening or broadening a narrowed or blocked artery and increasing blood flow to the heart muscle. This results in fewer angina symptoms. Post stent placement, angiograms are checked to see the blood flow through expanded artery. Once the procedure the satisfactorily completed, the guide catheter is removed. During a heart attack, angioplasty can reduce the amount of damage to your heart. Angioplasty usually takes about 90-150 minutes.
You will likely to be in the hospital for 3 – 4 days after procedure. You can return to normal routine work after one week of angioplasty. An angioplasty cannot fix the underlying heart disease. Cardiologists might prescribe some blood-thinning and other medications along with lifestyle modifications that caused the symptoms in the first place. It is important to keep following doctor’s recommendations and maintain a heart healthy lifestyle to reduce the chance of this occurring.