How It Is Done continued...
You may be asked to hold your breath
or move your head slightly. This helps to give clear views of the heart and its blood
During an angiogram, a small amount of dye (contrast material) will be
injected through the catheter into your coronary
arteries. Pictures show the arteries as the dye moves through them. You may be
asked to cough to help clear the contrast material out of your heart. Or you may be asked to take a deep breath and hold it.
Be sure to lie as still as
you can, since moving can make the images blurry or hard to read. A
health professional will help you stay comfortable and still. Be careful not to touch the sheets or the area where the catheter is inserted. If you do, you may contaminate the clean areas and increase the risk of
may be given nitroglycerin. This helps open up your coronary arteries. Or you may
get a shot of a medicine that causes the coronary arteries to
You may be asked to breathe into a special mouthpiece. This helps to measure the flow of oxygen in your blood.
The test takes about 30 minutes. But you need time to get ready for it and time to recover. It can take up to 6 hours total. How long the test takes is not a sign of how serious your condition is.
After the test
The catheter will be removed from
the site where it goes into your skin. To prevent bleeding, the site may need to be closed using
pressure, stitches, or a special seal. For example, if the catheter was
put in your wrist or groin, firm pressure will be applied to that area for
about 10 minutes to stop the bleeding. Then a pressure dressing will be placed
over the area. If the catheter was put in your elbow, a few stitches will
be used to close the wound.
After the test, you will be taken to an observation room. A health
professional will periodically monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, and
temperature. You will also be checked for signs of bleeding at the insertion site. The pulse,
color, and temperature of the arm or leg in which the catheter was put in
will also be checked periodically. You may be given medicine for pain.