Coronary angiography and intervention are procedures used to diagnose and treat a cardiovascular condition called coronary artery disease (CAD). Coronary artery disease is the narrowing or blockage of the coronary arteries. The coronary arteries supply blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the heart. Narrowing or blockages are usually caused by atherosclerosis, which is the buildup of plaque on the inner walls of the arteries.
Coronary angiography is a procedure that uses X-ray imaging and contrast dye to view the coronary arteries to see if blood flow is being restricted by a blockage or narrowing of the artery.
Coronary Angiography with Intervention
Sometimes coronary angiography will include an interventional procedure that is used to open up the blocked or narrowed artery. Some of the most common interventional cardiology procedures used to treat CAD are types of percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).
There are several types of PCI cardiologists can perform to treat CAD:
- Balloon angioplasty: A catheter with a tiny, folded balloon on its tip is inserted into the artery. Once the doctor reaches the narrowed or blocked artery, they inflate the balloon, which opens the artery. Sometimes balloons are coated with special medications that prevent new blockages. The balloon is then deflated and removed with the catheter.
- Angioplasty with stent: This procedure is performed in the same way as balloon angioplasty. However, a tiny mesh tube called a stent is placed in the artery to keep it open. Some stents are coated with special medication that helps prevent further buildup or scarring.
- Rotational atherectomy: A special tool in a catheter is used to drill out calcium deposits in the arteries.
- Chronic Total Occlusion (CTO) Intervention: A CTO is a complete blockage of a coronary artery that had been there for at least 30 days. CTO interventions use catheters and specialized instruments to clear blockages.
What to Expect
Depending on a patient’s condition and the type of procedure performed, coronary angiography may require a stay in the hospital or they may be done on an outpatient basis. These procedures are performed in a catheterization (cath) lab. Here are some of the things you can expect during coronary angiography:
- During the procedure, you will lie on your back on an X-ray table. You will be given an IV that will deliver fluids and medications such as sedatives.
- A local anesthetic will be injected into the place on your arm or groin where the catheter will be inserted.
- A small incision is made at the entry site in the arm or groin and a small tube called a sheath is inserted into the artery.
- The catheter is inserted through the sheath and carefully threaded to your coronary arteries. Once it is in place, the contrast dye is injected through the catheter.
- The contrast material makes the arteries highly visible on the X-ray. The cardiologist will take several images of the arteries and identify places where the blood flow is restricted.
- Depending on what your doctor discovers during the angiogram, coronary intervention procedures may also be performed. Then the catheter is removed.
- You will be taken to a recovery area for observation.
- If the catheter was inserted through the groin, you’ll have to lie flat for several hours to prevent bleeding.
- You may be able to go home and rest the same day as the procedure or you may be required to stay overnight.
- Your cardiologist will give you instructions on when to start taking your regular medications again and when to resume other activities.
-The physicians at Clearwater Cardiovascular Consultants have expertise in a range of outpatient cardiovascular services, including coronary angiography and intervention. We offer patients comprehensive care that is backed by experience, expertise, and the latest technology. Call Clearwater Cardiovascular Consultants at 727-445-1911 to make an appointment, or request an appointment online.