Coronary Angiogram / Heart Catheterization

About the Procedure

  • A coronary angiogram uses X-ray imaging to see your heart’s blood vessels. Coronary angiograms are part of a general group of procedures known as cardiac catheterization.
  • A heart catheterization procedure can diagnose and treat heart and blood vessel conditions. A coronary angiogram, which can help diagnose heart conditions, is the most common type of heart catheter procedure.
  • During a coronary angiogram, a type of dye that is visible by X-ray is injected into the blood vessels of your heart. The X-ray machine rapidly takes a series of images (angiograms), offering a detailed look at the inside of your blood vessels. If necessary, your doctor can perform procedures such as angioplasty during your coronary angiogram.

Why the Procedure is Performed

Your doctor may recommend that you have a coronary angiogram if you have:

  • Symptoms of coronary artery disease, such as chest pain (angina)
  • Pain in your chest, jaw, neck or arm that can’t be explained by other tests
  • New or increasing chest pain (unstable angina)
  • A heart defect you were born with (congenital heart disease)
  • Heart failure
  • Other blood vessel problems or a chest injury
  • A heart valve problem that requires surgery
  • You may also need an angiogram if you’re going to have surgery unrelated to your heart, but you are at high risk of having a heart problem during that surgery.
  • Because there is a small risk of complication, angiograms are usually done after noninvasive heart tests have been performed, such as an electrocardiogram, an echocardiogram, or a stress test.

How you can prepare for your procedure

  • In some cases, coronary angiograms are performed on an emergency basis. More commonly, though, they’re scheduled in advance to give you time to prepare.
  • Angiograms are performed in a catheterization (cath) lab. Usually you go to the hospital the morning of the procedure. Your healthcare team will give you specific instructions and talk to you about any medications you take.

Please call us at 303 659-7000 for more details and information.