Cardiac Catheterisation (Coronary Angiogram)

Cardiac catheterisation is a special X-ray investigation which uses a dye to allow detailed pictures of the coronary arteries to be taken.  This procedure is usually  carried out in patients suffering from angina, but may also be done for other reasons such as before heart valve surgery.  The name of the image produced from this procedure is called a ‘coronary angiogram’. A coronary angiogram will help your doctor to find out  the severity and the extent of your coronary artery disease and plan what treatment is needed.

What are the benefits?

The benefit of having this procedure is that it will let your doctors have a more complete understanding of your heart and how well it is working, which will allow them to plan your treatment appropriately.

Are there any alternatives?

At the moment cardiac catheterisation is the only procedure that shows exactly where the narrowings are in your coronary arteries.  It is an essential procedure if you are going to have surgical or catheter treatment for your coronary artery disease.  Other tests such as a thallium scan, or an exercise test can indicate if you have coronary artery disease, whilst a CT scan may be able to provide detailed information regarding the coronary arteries. However, these tests cannot show the precise location and severity of the narrowings. You may want to discuss the effects of not having the procedure with your doctor.

What are the risks?

All medical procedures are associated with a degree of risk.  For a cardiac catheterisation procedure the overall risk of any serious complications is less than one in a thousand.   However, risks will vary from patient to patient and your doctor will discuss the proposed procedure with you and will advise you if your medical condition will affect the risk factors in any way.

Consultants linked to treatment

Location where service is offered

Royal Brompton Hospital and Harefield Hospital

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