Coronary Angiography is a procedure which uses X-rays and a special dye that enables the doctor to see any abnormalities in chambers of the heart, blood vessels and the pattern of flow of blood to the heart. During the procedure, a special dye or a contrast medium is injected into the blood vessels so that they can be seen on X-ray film. It is most commonly used to detect problems in the blood vessels that affect blood flow to and from the heart. It can also reveal blockages in the coronary arteries due to a plaque build-up or abnormalities in the wall of the heart.
The test is usually performed with cardiac catheterization to inject the dye into coronary arteries. A mild sedative is given to keep you comfortable during the procedure. Your doctor will numb the area (usually in the arm, upper thigh or neck) to make a small cut through which a hollow plastic tube is passed to enter the blood vessel and gradually moved up to the coronary arteries. Then the special dye is injected into the catheter. X-ray images are taken to visualize the images of the dye that moves through the artery and any blockages present will be highlighted.
You will be advised not to eat or drink for 8 hours before the test is scheduled. You should report to your doctor, about any allergies to seafood or to the dye material if it was used before. A small bruise may develop at the place where the catheter was inserted and may be painful. It is necessary to contact your doctor if the bleeding from the site of catheter insertion does not stop and if there are signs of infection such as redness, swelling and pain. Risks and complications of the procedure are very rare and can include irregular heartbeat, damage to arteries, allergy to the dye used, low blood pressure and blood clot formation that can lead to stroke.