The woes of the heart are not a secret anymore, thanks to the miracle of angiography! Some of you might be a little stunned at the usage of the word miracle, and this discussion is specifically for those of you. We are not sure why you are surprised. Isn’t it simply amazing the way an angiography can reveal what is troubling your heart? In case you are not familiar with the procedure, maybe reading this discussion till the very end will make you realize the brilliance of angiography as an imaging procedure.
We won’t keep you waiting for too long, let us straight to the overview of the procedure!
An overview of the process
Keeping things simple, angiography is an X-ray imaging technique. We could have used the term cardiac catheterization, but that would have complicated things! In case you really want to know about these procedures, they involve both diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular issues. Allow us to add here that we are going to be more focused on coronary angiography in this discussion! We will talk about miracle of angiography, but here is the overview of the process anyway. A dye that is visible via the X-ray machine is injected into the patient’s blood vessels. The X-ray machine then clicks images called angiograms which allows the doctor to have a clear idea of the patient’s cardiac health.
In this section, we are going to look at the reasons why someone might need an angiography. The most common reason for doctors to recommend an angiography is the suspicion of coronary artery disease. Symptoms such as chest pain are enough to arouse this suspicion. But there are other indications for angiography as well. For example, congenital heart disease or abnormal cardiac stress that cannot be explained also necessitate the need for angiography. But before going for this invasive imaging technique, non-invasive tests like ECG must be performed. Well, that is something that your doctor must consider if you are undergoing an angiography!
We mentioned earlier that there are several types of angiography, but for the sake of this discussion, we will focus more on coronary angiography. However, we deemed it prudent to mention some of the other major types of angiography as well. We are not going to talk about these in detail, we just don’t have enough space and time! So, there is the CT (computed tomography) angiography, digital subtraction angiography, MR angiography which stands for magnetic resonance and renal angiography. For figuring out lung issues, the recommended angiography type is pulmonary angiography.
This section of the discussion focuses on preparation for angiographies that are scheduled, not the urgent ones. Now, usually, angiography is performed in a CATH lab of a hospital. But we are not sure where the facility might be located at your local hospital! Anyhow, the common preparations for an angiography include abstinence from eating and drinking at least 12 hours before your angiography. Also, it is prudent to ask your physician about any medications that you might be taking regularly. A special case is that of insulin, which the diabetics must inquire about before undergoing the angiography. The opinion varies from patient to patient, so we are not going to say something too specific here. But it is always good to ask the doc before the procedure so that you don’t have to face any complications after the surgical procedure!
What actually happens during an angiography?
The procedure itself is quite simple. Contrast material is inserted via a catheter into the patient’s artery, which sounds painful but hardly is. Then, as the contrast material or the dye flows through vessels, the doctor can identify and pinpoint any constricted areas. This is the diagnosis part of the angiography, it might have a treatment part depending upon the observation that the doctor makes. For example, balloon angioplasty. Once the process is over, the catheter is removed and it is made sure that the point of incision is not bleeding or left open carelessly.
Interpreting the results – The Miracle of Angiography
What can you expect an angiogram to show? And we are talking about answers other than atherosclerosis! It can help you identify where blockages are actually located in your cardiovascular system, as well as the volume of blood that fails to flow through these impeding points. If a patient had coronary bypass surgery recently, an angiogram can help the cardiologists to observe the results of that surgery more clearly. So all in all here is an X-ray imaging technique that can show where the problem is in your cardiovascular system!
Call the doc if!
Normally, angiography proves to be an imaging procedure with the least complications and risks. However, if things go wrong, a patient must consult the doctor soon. One of the reasons why a patient might have to consult a doctor is bleeding at the catheter site. This is a problem that arises usually because of negligence on the part of the nursing staff. Then, contraction of fever or infection cannot be ruled out either post angiography. However, these are minor complications and we reckon you will be fine within a day or two at most. But if you feel pain in your chest after an angiography that is an issue of a more serious nature, and demands a visit to the doc. The same follows for the bluish skin color that might be observed in an angiography. However, we pray that things don’t come to such a point!
Conclusion -The Miracle of Angiography
Well, folks, that would be all for now. We know we could have talked a bit more about the complicated details of the procedure. But we didn’t, only because we wanted all of you to understand what we are saying. The medical jargon is one of the toughest codes to crack and we are sure that you were not looking for something complicated when you landed on this page. We hope that you learned something new from this discussion, and on that optimistic note, we bid you farewell!