What is an Angiogram?

An angiogram is a medical procedure that uses X-ray imaging to visualize coronary arteries or blood vessels. This test examines blood flow obstructions within the heart. Angiogram is a component of cardiac catheterization, a group of procedures that diagnose and treat various heart and blood vessel conditions.

During the procedure, the patient will be under sedation or local anesthesia to help them feel relaxed. Then, the cardiologist makes a small incision near the groin or wrist and inserts a thin, flexible tube (catheter) into the artery. They will guide the catheter to the area of interest and inject a special dye (contrast) into the bloodstream. As the contrast dye passes through the bloodstream, the X-ray machine generates detailed images to evaluate the blood flow and identify blockages. Afterward, the cardiologist removes the catheter and applies constant pressure for about 15 minutes to prevent internal bleeding at the site.

An angiogram helps doctors evaluate the blood flow and detect abnormalities in the heart valves, or blockages, such as weakened blood vessels, plaque deposits, and blood clots. This is also used to diagnose and treat heart conditions, including:

  • Coronary artery disease
  • Peripheral arterial disease
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Unusual chest pain (angina)
  • Aortic aneurysm
  • Irregular heart beat (arrhythmias)

Depending on the nature of the case, an angiogram procedure typically lasts between 30 minutes and two hours. The patient may return home on the same day or, if necessary, stay overnight. This procedure is also not painful, as the doctor administers local anesthesia to numb the insertion site of the catheter. If a patient experiences discomfort, the doctor may prescribe medication to help alleviate the pain.

An angiogram allows the doctor to visualize arterial blockages. If blocked vessels are identified, they may perform another procedure known as angioplasty. This procedure uses a small balloon catheter to stretch the narrowed blood vessel, enhancing blood flow and improving heart function.

In some cases, the doctor may perform stenting during or after an angioplasty. This procedure involves the placement of a small tube, known as a stent, into the artery to maintain its openness following the removal of cholesterol (plaque) buildups. It also helps restore normal blood flow in the heart and reduces the risk of severe ailments like chest pain and heart attack.

Why Might Someone Need an Angiogram?

A cardiologist may recommend an angiogram if an individual:

  • exhibits symptoms of coronary artery disease (CAD), such as angina (chest pain)
  • experiences unusual chest, jaw, neck, or arm pain
  • develops increased or unstable angina
  • has congenital heart disease, a condition present at birth
  • obtains abnormal heart stress test results
  • faces blood vessel issues or chest injuries
  • requires minimally-invasive intervention for a heart valve problem
  • has a history of stroke or heart failure

Various symptoms and conditions that may prompt the recommendation of an angiogram include chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, unexplained heart failure, fainting, fatigue, high blood pressure (hypertension), high cholesterol levels (hypercholesterolemia), diabetes, and a family history of heart disease.

As with any medical procedure, there are potential risks and complications associated with an angiogram procedure.

Although risks and complications are uncommon,these may include:

  • Bruising or swelling at the puncture site
  • Allergic reactions to contrast material (dye) and medications administered during the procedure
  • Heart attack or stroke
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Infection
  • Irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias)
  • Injury to the catheterized artery
  • Kidney damage

Ensure you discuss these potential risks with a healthcare provider, as they can provide more detailed information based on your health history and condition.

Finding a Reliable Cardiologist for Angiogram in the Philippines

Finding a skilled and experienced cardiologist in the Philippines for an angiogram procedure in the Philippines is crucial in order to ensure optimal care and an accurate diagnosis. Consider the following factors when selecting a cardiologist:

  • Credentials and qualifications – Look for a cardiologist who holds board certification to ensure that they have undergone specialized training and meets the highest standards of practice.
  • Experience and specialization – When choosing a cardiologist for an angiogram, evaluate their expertise in performing the procedure and how they manage complex heart conditions. Check if they specialize in interventional cardiology or other related areas. In addition, review their record of successful procedures and positive patient outcomes.
  • Patient reviews and referrals – Get feedback from other patients who have undergone angiograms or received treatment from a cardiologist. They can provide valuable insights into the doctor’s competence, bedside manners, and overall quality of care.

Experience exceptional medical care at Asian Hospital and Medical Center, a premier cardiology hospital in the Philippines. Our team of cardiologists provides comprehensive cardiovascular services, including angiogram procedures, which prioritize your well-being and ensure optimal clinical outcome.

Take the first step towards a healthier heart and choose Asian Hospital for top-notch medical treatment that combines expertise, technology, and patient-centered care. To schedule an appointment, call +(632) 8-771-9000 or email info@asianhospital.com.

What to Expect During and After an Angiogram

During the consultation, the cardiologist will provide detailed preparation instructions, including fasting from food and drink the night for 6-8 hours. In addition, it is crucial to bring a list of all current medications and arrange for someone to assist with transportation after the procedure.

The doctor administers a mild sedative before the procedure to help the patient relax. They will numb the surgical area, insert a catheter through a small cut in the skin to the target blood vessel, and inject a contrast dye to create X-ray images.

Following the procedure, the doctor removes the catheter, and closes the incision using manual pressure or a clamping device. The patient will then be monitored in a recovery area. If the catheter is inserted into the groin, the patient must remain in a flat position for several hours to minimize bleeding. Depending on the condition, the patient may be able to return home the same day or stay in the facility overnight.

Patients may experience postoperative side effects, including bruising, soreness, and an accumulation of blood near the puncture site, which results in a small bump. These may improve in a few days or weeks. While rare, complications like infections and allergic reactions to the dye are possible. Furthermore, doctors may advise follow-up care, such as:

  • Getting adequate rest
  • Avoid prolonged standing
  • Avoid vigorous activities and heavy lifting
  • Take prescribed painkillers
  • Drink plenty of fluid for dye elimination

If you encounter postoperative complications or side effects, seek medical attention from a heart hospital promptly.

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