Angiography is derived from the Greek term 'angeion' meaning vessel and 'graphein' which means to writ. Angiography or arteriography is a technique of medical imaging where an X-Ray is taken of the heart to visualize the inner opening of the arteries, veins and the four heart chambers, right atrium, right ventricle, left atrium and left ventricle. Angiography or angiogram requires the insertion of a catheter, a thin tube into a peripheral artery.
Coronary Angiography or Coronary Catheterization is a minimally invasive procedure to access the coronary flow and blood chambers of the heart using a catheter. Coronary Catheterization was first introduced in 1950s.
During Coronary Catheterization a patient's blood pressure and X-Ray shadowgrams of the blood in the coronary arteries are recorded. To record the X-Ray images, a cardiologist guides a catheter through the large blood arteries till the tip of the catheter reaches the opening of the coronary arteries.
Catheters are made with a high radio density making it opaque to X-Rays allowing a clearer, blood compatible X-Ray dye to be selectively injected and mixed with the blood flowing in the artery. Without the X-Ray dye, the blood and internal structure of the heart is not clearly visible. The cardiologist activates the equipment to apply cine, a higher X-Ray dose when he/she is ready to record the diagnostic views. The diagnostic views can be saved and studied later.
Simple Coronary Angiography usually takes about half an hour to complete.
Hospitals use CT Angiography or Coronary Computed Tomography Angiography, as a non- invasive method to detect blockages in the coronary arteries. 64 slice CT Angio system is used to detect dysfunctions like narrowing of the coronary arteries, soft plaque and fat.
First and foremost thing for the patient, before thinking of Coronary Cardiac CT Angiography is that he should consult his doctor. Because, the usage of Coronary CTA is quite appropriate and scans during the process from X-ray exposures, there is some risk involved. It is the responsibility of the doctor that he should do careful selection of the patient so that any kind of risk involved, is reduced.
After the procedure, the patient is moved to the special care area. Here he is monitored for overnight or a few hours where his movements are kept minimum for avoiding bleeding from the area where the catheter was inserted. At the site of recovery, your heart rate and blood pressure are also checked after regular intervals along with any kind of possible bleeding.
It is also possible that the area where the catheter was inserted, that area might become tender or sore for around a week's time. A small bruise may also appear on the patient's arms, upper thigh or neck, near the site of insertion.
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