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Coronary Angiography

Man's body with a catheter inserted into the leg and running to an artery on the heart.
The catheter can be placed into the groin, arm, or wrist.

Angiography is a special type of X-ray that allows your coronary arteries to be viewed and recorded on film. Your doctor can see if the blood vessels to your heart are clogged.

 Before the Procedure

  • Tell your doctor what medicines you take and any allergies you may have.

  • Don’t eat or drink anything after midnight, the night before the procedure.

During the Procedure

  • A long, thin tube called a catheter is placed inside an artery in your groin or arm and guided into your heart.

  • A contrast dye is injected through the catheter into your blood vessels or heart chambers.

  • X-rays are taken to to show clear photos of the inside of your heart and coronary arteries.

After the Procedure

Close view of the heart showing a catheter injecting dye into a coronary artery.

  • Your doctor or nurse will tell you how long to lie down and keep the insertion site still.

  • If the insertion site was in your groin, you may need to lie down with your leg still for several hours.

  • A nurse will check your blood pressure and the insertion site.

  • You may be asked to drink fluid to help flush the contrast liquid out of your system.

  • Have someone drive you home from the hospital.

  • It’s normal to find a small bruise or lump at the insertion site. These common side effects should disappear within a few weeks.

Call Your Health Care Provider

Contact your health care provider if:

  • You have angina (chest pain).

  • The insertion site has pain, swelling, redness, bleeding, or drainage.

  • You have severe pain, coldness, or a bluish color in the leg or arm that held the catheter.

  • You experience blood in your urine, black or tarry stools, or any other kind of bleeding.

  • You have a fever over 101°F (38.3°C).

Online Medical Reviewer: Fetterman, Anne, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Last Review Date: 2/19/2014
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