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Angiograms & Catheterizations

An angiogram is an x-ray test that uses a special iodine contrast dye and camera (fluoroscopy) to take pictures of the blood vessels.  When it is used to visualize the heart arteries, is called a coronary angiogram or cardiac catheterization.  Angiograms can also be used to visualize other vessels including those in the brain, abdomen and legs. 

The procedure is performed in the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory which is a specialized invasive procedure area that is staffed by highly trained registered nurses and technicians who assist the physicians.  Before the procedure is started, conscious sedation is often administered to relax the patient.  Local anesthesia is then given in the area where the catheters are going to be placed.   The physician will then use a needle to get into the intended artery; an access point, usually in the groin (femoral artery), or in the wrist (radial artery).  Catheters are advanced over a wire through the aorta into the coronary arteries and then pictures are taken.   X-ray images are created by injecting a liquid, called 'contrast dye', through the catheter.  Contrast dye makes the blood flowing through the blood vessels visible on an x-ray. Contrast is eliminated from the body via the kidneys in the urine.  An angiogram takes about 1-2 hours to perform depending on the information needed and whether or not a stent is done at the same time.

Angiograms are often recommended to aid in the diagnosis of a variety of cardiovascular conditions including:

-Coronary artery disease: blockages of the arteries to the heart.
-Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD): blockages of the arteries outside of the heart. 
-Aneurysms: enlargements of the arteries including coronary and aorta.
-Aortic arch conditions.

Learn More

Make an Appointment

Make an appointment at one of our Westchester Heart & Vascular locations. For the full list of practice locations and contact numbers, please visit our locations page.

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