Benefits of an Angiogram
An Angiogram may eliminate the need for surgery to treat cardiovascular disease. In cases where surgery remains necessary, it can be performed more accurately when a patient has had an angiogram.
Angiograms present a very detailed, clear and accurate picture of the blood vessels in a patient’s heart, which is especially helpful in cases where surgery is being considered. An angiogram makes it possible to assess vessels in several specific areas. In fact, a smaller catheter may be passed through the larger one into a branch artery supplying a small area of tissue or a tumor; this is called super selective angiography.
Unlike non-invasive procedures such as computed tomography (CT scan) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the use of a catheter makes it possible to combine diagnosis and treatment in a single procedure. For example, in the case where an angiogram reveals an area of severe arterial narrowing, the doctor may immediately perform an angioplasty or place a stent in the patient’s affected blood vessel.
The degree of detail displayed by catheter angiography may not be available with non-invasive procedures.
There is always a slight chance of cancer from excessive exposure to radiation. However, the benefit of an accurate diagnosis far outweighs the risk.
Patients with a history of allergy to x-ray contrast material may be advised to take special medication for 24 hours before having an angiogram to lessen the risk of allergic reaction.
Women should always inform their physician or x-ray technologist if there is any possibility that they may be pregnant, and nursing mothers should wait for 24 hours after any procedure using contrast dye before resuming breast-feeding.
The risk of serious allergic reaction to contrast materials that contain iodine is extremely rare, and our radiology department is well-equipped to deal with them.
Patients with diabetes or kidney disease may experience kidney injury when the contrast dye is eliminated through the urine.
Complications from angiograms are extremely rare; millions of patients undergo the procedure annually with little more than odd sensations or slight discomfort.