This test is performed by a cardiologist in a sterile operating theatre environment.
Most people will need to have routine tests before the procedure. These tests may require separate appointments and are usually planned the day before or the day of the procedure. You will be asked not to eat or drink after midnight the evening before the procedure.
You will be sedated and receive local anaesthesia and will be awake throughout. After the procedure you will have to lay flat for several hours
Angiography is the demonstration of the anatomy and abnormalities of the arteries and veins in all regions of the body. The majority of angiography studies relate to the heart where narrowing of the coronary arteries can lead to life threatening events and disabling pain. Cardiac angiography is also used to assess the ability of the heart to pump blood and to assess the function of the heart valves.
Most angiograms are performed through an artery in the groin or wrist. Under local anaesthetic a long, thin plastic catheter or tube is introduced into the vessel and, under x-ray control, the end of the catheter is guided to the opening of the vessel for study. Contrast (or dye), a clear fluid which shows up on x-rays, is injected through the catheter to demonstrate the artery. The x-ray pictures obtained can be recorded in the memory of the computer attached to the angiogram machine. These pictures can then be reviewed at leisure to make the correct diagnosis and to enable discussion with the physicians and surgeons involved with the patient. Once the appropriate pictures have been obtained the catheter is removed and the patient undergoes a period of bed rest to allow the small hole in the vessel to seal over. Most patients are discharged home on the same day that the study is performed.
Angiograms are obtained using a very sophisticated X-ray machine designed to enable examination of all parts of the body, especially the heart. Unlike ordinary x-ray units the angiography system has a high resolution television monitor which enables the operator to observe the catheter and the vessels at any time.
Angiograms are performed by cardiologists who have special training to enable them to perform these examinations with considerable skill. There are no doctors in training and all operators are specialists who have also been accredited for work with the equipment. The doctor performing the study is assisted by one or more nurses and the radiographer who manages the angiography machine.
The most commonly performed study is the coronary angiogram. This is the procedure used to demonstrate the anatomy and disease of the coronary arteries. The procedure is routine before consideration of heart surgery or angioplasty for the treatment of coronary artery disease. It is a safe, well tried technique having been performed in large numbers since the early 1960s.
The arteries in the leg can be subject to disease which leads to narrowing or blockages of the arteries. A femoral angiogram allows the anatomy of the leg arteries to be displayed, from the low abdomen, through the pelvis and down to the feet. Computer enhancement techniques, which make the image clearer, are commonly used in these studies.
Angioplasty means opening up a narrowed artery by inflating a balloon. Nowadays, a fine mesh metal tube is also inserted in most cases. This is called PCI (percutaneous coronary intervention) or stenting. Sometimes renarrowing can occur after angioplasty or stenting. Drug-eluting stents are a recent major advance. These stents are coated with a medication that enters the wall of the artery near the stent stopping a lot of the excessive healing responsible for re-narrowing. We believe that not every patient needs a drug-eluting stent because simple narrowings do very well with simple treatments. Check out our Angioplasty Patient Information Booklet.
Mercy Angiography is sited at Mercy Hospital, on the first floor. Mercy Hospital is the largest private hospital in New Zealand and is fully equipped to deal with all emergencies including heart surgery. The wards are modern and pleasant for patients recovering from angiographic procedures.
98 Mountain Rd, Epsom, Auckland 3.
Phone: 09 630 1961
Facsimile: 09 630 1962