Coronary Angiography - Invasive X-ray Test
Coronary Angiography is an invasive type of X-ray test that involves the introduction of a contrast agent (colored dye) into the coronary vessels to help explore the bloodstream of a patient.
During this procedure, a thin and hollow tube (catheter) is inserted into the large artery in the thigh or forearm by means of a specific tool called an introducer. The catheter opening is guided closer to the coronary vessel by means of fluoroscopy. A contrast agent is injected into the catheter, making it possible to see pathological changes of coronary vessels, such as stenosis, tortuosity, and reactions to myocardial contractions.
Angiography is the “gold standard” in the diagnosis of ischemic heart disease. With a high degree of accuracy, it helps identify segments where a coronary artery has narrowed, and, as well, the morphological character and degree of this narrowing. This procedure can also be used to take some heart tissues for biopsy or blood samples to measure oxygen content. Coronary angiography is nearly painless and relatively safe, with a 2% complication rate. Some patients may experience bruising at the catheter insertion location.
Modern methods of diagnosing cardiovascular disease, when combined with conventional diagnostic tools and systems, bring hope to millions of people who suffer from the disease and millions more who can avoid the health problem. Only comprehensive examinations administered by medical specialists and involving more than one diagnostic technique can provide the broadest picture of the disease.