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Cardiac Catheterization & Coronary Angiography

What is Cardiac Catheterization and Coronary angiography?
A Cardiac catheterization is a method by which long, thin plastic tubes called catheters, are inserted into a blood vessel in the leg or arm using a local anesthetic and then pushed under x–ray guidance to the heart. Once they are in the heart, the catheters can measure the pressures within the chambers of the heart as well as how much blood the heart is actually pumping to the rest of the body. This lets doctors know how well the heart is working. It is also used to assess diseases of the heart valves and congenital heart disease. However, the most common reason a cardiac catheterization is done is to perform a Coronary Angiogram(CAG), i.e. take a picture of the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle. This is done by injecting an X-ray dye that can be seen on X–ray film through the catheters into the coronary arteries. Any constriction gives an indication of blockages in these arteries. An actual X-ray movie is made of the coursing through the arteries.
What is Angiography indicated in patients with chest pain or heart attac?
Angiography is advised when the decision to undergo angioplasty or by pass is made. This happens when the chest pain is not relieved in spite of adequate medical treatment or when the chest pain is unstable. After a heart attack, if there is continued chest pain or exercise testing or if any other non-invasive methods show decreased blood flow, then to avoid future complications; angiography is done to know the extent and location of blockages.
What are the preparations for Coronary Angiogram?
The only preparations for the procedure are that the patient should not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before. The patient#8217;s usual medications can be taken the morning of the test with a small sip of water. Some medicines may have to be stopped the day of or several days before the test such as the power full blood thinner and diabetic medications. The test is done in a room in a hospital called a cardiac catheterization lab.


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