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  • Writer's pictureDr Woo JW

Unlocking Heart Health: Your Guide to Coronary Angiogram & Angioplasty

Updated: Mar 6

Navigating Heart Procedures with Confidence and Understanding


3D model of red and white blood cells in an artery

When it comes to heart health, two procedures often come up: Coronary Angiogram and Angioplasty. But what are they? Let’s break it down together.


A Coronary Angiogram is a test that uses dye and special X-rays to show the insides of your coronary arteries. It helps doctors see if there’s a blockage in your arteries that could be causing chest pain or a heart attack.


A small tube called a catheter is inserted into a blood vessel in your arm or groin. The catheter is guided to your heart, and a dye is injected through the catheter. X-ray images are taken to see if there’s a blockage.


Angioplasty is a procedure used to open blocked heart arteries. It can improve blood flow to your heart, relieve chest pain, and possibly prevent a heart attack.


What to Expect

Before either procedure, you’ll be asked to lie down on an examination table. You’ll be connected to an ECG machine that monitors your heart during the procedure.


A small tube called a catheter is inserted into a blood vessel in your arm or groin. The catheter is guided to your heart, and a dye is injected through the catheter. X-ray images are taken to see if there’s a blockage in your arteries.


If a blockage is found during the angiogram, an angioplasty may be performed. A tiny balloon on the end of the catheter is inflated to push the blockage aside and restore blood flow. Sometimes, a small metal coil called a stent is placed to keep the artery open.


After the procedure, you’ll be monitored closely to make sure there are no complications. You may need to stay in the hospital overnight, and you’ll be given instructions on how to care for yourself at home.


Side Effects

Although coronary angioplasty and stenting procedures are generally safe, there are potential side effects and risks that should be considered. Below are some of the most common ones:


1. Re-narrowing of the Artery

This is more likely to occur without a stent. Stents coated with medicine have a lower risk of narrowing.


2. Blood Clots

Blood clots can form within stents and close the artery, leading to a heart attack.


3. Bleeding or Infection

Bleeding, bruising, or infection may occur at the catheter insertion site.


4. Heart Attack

Severe tissue damage or death from heart attacks are rare.


5. Coronary Artery Damage

During coronary angioplasty and stenting, the coronary artery may be torn or ruptured.


6. Kidney Injury

The risk is higher when other conditions already affect kidney function.


7. Stroke

This is a rare but serious side effect.


While coronary angiogram and angioplasty are effective in diagnosing and treating heart diseases, it’s important to be aware of the potential side effects. If you or a loved one is considering these procedures, discuss these risks with your healthcare provider to make an informed decision.


Remember, every medical procedure comes with its own set of risks and benefits. It’s crucial to weigh these against each other and against the potential consequences of not undergoing the procedure. Your healthcare team will guide you through this process, ensuring you have all the information you need to make the best decision for your health.


At Sunrise Heart Specialist Clinic, Dr. Woo and his team are dedicated to keeping your heart healthy. With years of experience and a passion for heart health, we provide top-notch care tailored to your needs. Book an appointment today and take the first step towards a healthier heart. Your heart doesn’t rest, and neither do we.






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