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Microsoft word - coronary angiogram patient information leaflet.doc
Why do I need an angiogram?
The heart is a muscle and like all muscles in the body it needs to have a good blood supply in order to work properly. Your heart gets blood from three main blood vessels called the coronary
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arteries. Your doctors feel you may have a problem with the blood supply to your heart muscle and a coronary angiogram will
What is a coronary angiogram?
The angiogram is an x-ray test used to show the blood flow in the
coronary arteries. A special dye known as contrast fluid is
injected into the coronary arteries via an artery in your groin or your arm. The dye can be seen when x-rays are taken and this
Information for patients
will show whether the coronary arteries are normal, narrowed, irregular or blocked. The procedure is performed under local
anaesthetic and usually takes around 20 minutes.
This leaflet tells you about the procedure known as Coronary
Benefits of angiography
Angiography, (also known as having an angiogram or cardiac
catheter). Please ensure you have had sufficient explanation
The angiogram provides detailed information about your
and you understand the procedure before you sign the
coronary arteries. The results of the angiogram are important to
help you and your doctor decide the best treatment option for
What are the risks?
Although coronary angiography is a very safe procedure, the angiogram procedure cannot be performed without some
element of risk. The majority of patients have no major problems
but the following complications can occur.
Bleeding at the puncture site; this usually settles with
Kent & Sussex Hospital
Bruising around the puncture site; this is common and may
take some weeks to go. Sometimes more pressure over the puncture site is necessary. Very rarely the bleeding or
bruising is very severe and a minor operation may be needed.
Some people may have an allergic reaction to the x-ray dye.
PLEASE READ CAREFULLY
If you have any allergies you must
tell your doctor and nurse.
Preparing for your procedure:
This reaction almost always responds rapidly to medical
Take all medications (other than Warfarin and Metformin) as
usual. Please bring your current medications with you (or a list of
Major complications are extremely rare but can include
what you are taking) so that we can prescribe these correctly.
damage to the leg artery, heart attacks, strokes and death.
If you are taking WARFARIN or PHENINDIONE
You will have the opportunity to discuss these risks and how they
be stopped 4 days
before your procedure
may affect you further prior to the procedure.
If you are diabetic
and take METFORMIN
this must be
stopped 24 hours
before your angiogram. This should not
Are there any alternatives?
affect your diabetes management. You can recommence your
A number of other tests can be used to get an idea of the blood
Metformin 48 hours (two days)
after the procedure.
supply to the heart muscle including a treadmill test, a special
If you are taking insulin
you should miss your usual morning
exercise echo scan or a special exercise nuclear scan. You may
dose. We will measure your blood sugar when you arrive and
It is important to remember that the angiogram is the only
On the day of admission:
that shows your coronary arteries in detail so that further treatments, if necessary, can be planned thoroughly.
Take a bath or shower and carefully shave a patch of skin about 4 inches around the skin crease at the top of your right
What happens before the procedure?
leg. Do not worry if you are unable to do this, it can be done
Most angiogram procedures are carried out locally in the Cardiac
Catheter Labs at either Kent and Sussex Hospital or Maidstone
If you are coming for a morning appointment please have a
Hospital. A small number of patients who require more complex
light early breakfast and then nothing to eat or drink after that,
investigations have these at a London Hospital.
Most patients are admitted on the day of the procedure though
You will be asked to put on a hospital gown and asked to
very occasionally, some patients may need to come in the
walk to the Catheter Lab - please bring a dressing gown and
evening before. If you need to contact someone before your
Please do not bring any money or valuables with you. The ward telephone will be available for you to use if required.
Phone the admissions team in the Catheter Lab
You must let the Catheter Lab staff know if:
Phone the secretary to your Cardiologist
If you cannot attend your appointment please contact the
You have had a previous reaction to intravenous contrast
admissions team, as soon as possible, on the telephone number
medium, (the dye used for kidney x-rays and CT scanning).
You may be pregnant; if applicable you will be asked to confirm this on the day of your procedure.
What can you expect in the laboratory and who will be
What happens after the angiogram?
The angiography laboratory can seem intimidating as it is full of
You will be taken back to the recovery area on a trolley. Nurses
medical equipment such as monitors and a big x-ray machine
in recovery will carry out routine observations. Your pulse and
within quite a small space. There is a team of three people who
blood pressure will be taken and the pulse in your foot or arm
will assist your Cardiologist with the procedure. They are a
will also be checked. The nurses will monitor your groin or wrist
specialist trained nurse, a radiographer to take the x-rays of your
puncture point to make sure there is no bleeding.
heart and a technician to watch the monitors. They will do
You will generally stay in bed for an hour, although it may be
everything they can to put you at your ease.
longer, until you have recovered – the time period may differ for
You may have to wait for a short time in one part of the lab until
each patient and your nurse will tell you when you can get up.
You may eat and drink once you are sitting up in bed.
Most patients are allowed home on the same day after a
What happens during the angiogram?
discussion with a member of the medical team. You must not
You will be asked to lie on your back on the couch while the
drive for 48-72 hours after your procedure
so you will need to
angiogram is carried out. First the doctor will give you a local
arrange for a responsible adult to collect you and take you home.
anaesthetic to make your skin numb, this stings to begin with but will soon settle.
When you go home
If you are anxious before or during the procedure ask for some
Before being discharged from the unit you will see your
medication (sedation) to help you relax; this is given through the
Cardiologist and given the results of the angiogram, as well as
needle in your arm. You will be awake during the procedure and
being given a discharge advice sheet by the nursing staff looking
The doctor will then thread a small tube (sheath) into your artery
using a needle. Thin tubes or catheters are then passed through
You are advised to rest
for the remainder of the day and you
this sheath into your arteries up to your heart. To make it
should ensure that a responsible adult stays with you on the
possible for the doctors to see your heart’s arteries in detail x-ray
dye can then be injected into each of them. Pictures are taken
After 24 hours you may be as active
as normal but if you
from a number of different angles so that if there are narrowings
have any concerns about exercise or returning to work after
your procedure please discuss this with the ward staff.
The whole procedure usually takes less than half an hour. When
Avoid heavy lifting for a couple of days.
the doctor is satisfied with the pictures taken the catheters and
We advise you not to drive for a couple of days after your
sheath are removed from the artery. The puncture hole in your
groin is usually plugged with a special device called an Angio-Seal.
You may bath or shower 48 hours after your procedure, earlier than this may encourage bleeding. If there is a plaster on your wound you may remove this the next day.
If your foot /toe/arm/fingers
becomes more pale or colder
You may eat and drink as usual when you get home but avoid
than usual or you experience uncharacteristic tingling or
numbness in these areas, contact your GP immediately or come to the A&E department
You should also drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids to clear
DO NOT DRIVE YOURSELF – You must get someone to take
you to your GP or to the hospital.
Your doctor will advise you of any changes to your
medications when they discuss your results with you on the
You should also contact your GP if you have increased pain,
day of your procedure or at your follow-up outpatient
swelling, redness &/or discharge at the site.
If you are on Metformin please restart taking your Metformin
You should NOT expect to experience any increase in chest pain
two days after
If you are on Warfarin your doctor will advise you on
Any CHEST PAIN
should be dealt with as below:
recommencing and dosage before you leave the department.
If you have angina
, stop, sit down and take 2 puffs of your
GTN spray. Wait 5 minutes. If you still have chest pain use
It is normal for your groin or arm to be tender for a few days after
your spray again. Wait another 5 minutes. If you still have
the angiogram. It is also normal for a bruise or tiny lump to
pain after a further 5 minutes repeat once more (three times
altogether) If the pain has not gone phone 999.
The Angio-seal plug used to close your artery will dissolve within three months (90 days). Your nurse will give you an information
If you do not have angina
and you experience chest pain,
stop and sit down for 10 minutes. If the pain has not subsided
card about the Angio-seal and you should carry this with you for
phone 999 and take 300mg of aspirin if you are not allergic to
What to look out for
Who to contact if you have any queries or concerns?
A larger area of swelling
is observed in your groin; apply firm
pressure to the puncture site for 10 minutes. If the swelling
does not disperse or continues to grow, contact your GP
immediately, or come to the A&E Department.
at the site occurs, press fingers very firmly over
the site for 10 minutes or until bleeding stops. If bleeding
persists, contact your GP immediately or come to the A&E
Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)
If you would like to comment on Trust services, have concerns or need
information, you can contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS).
PALS will listen to your views and using a wide range of contacts and
resources, help find ways of resolving any queries or difficulties. The PALS
Officers can be contacted at Maidstone or Kent and Sussex Hospitals where
the offices are situated in the main entrance, Monday to Thursday 9.00am to
5.00pm, Friday 9.00am to 4.30pm.
Telephone: Maidstone Hospital
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