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A coronary angiogram is a test to look at the blood vessels of your heart. These are called the coronary arteries. You may have this test to see if any of these arteries are narrowed or blocked. The test may also be used to measure the pressure in your heart's chambers. A doctor will put a thin, flexible tube into a blood vessel in your wrist, upper leg or groin. This tube is called a catheter.
During the test, the doctor moves the catheter through the blood vessel and into your heart. Then the doctor puts a dye into the catheter. This makes your coronary arteries show up on a screen. Your doctor can see if the arteries are blocked or narrowed.
If you have a narrowed or blocked artery, the doctor may do an angioplasty or a coronary stent procedure. In an angioplasty, the doctor puts a catheter with a tiny balloon at the tip into the blocked area and inflates it. The balloon presses the fatty buildup (plaque) against the walls of the artery. This makes more room for blood to flow.
In most cases, the doctor then puts a stent in the artery. A stent is a small tube made of wire mesh. It presses against the walls of the artery. The stent is left in the artery to keep it open. This helps blood flow.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Procedures can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your procedure.
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Adaptation Date: 3/19/2021
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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