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Tel: +353 (0) 91720170                         brendan.ocochlain@galwayclinic.com
Home About Dr O Cochlain Hearts electrical system Site map Atrial Fibrillation Catheter ablation Supraventicular tachycardia Arrhythmia Supraventricular tachycardia Ventricular arrhythmias Palpitations Hearts Electrical system Atrial fibrillation Sudden cardiac arrest Angioplasty / Angiograms and Stenting

An Angiogram

An angiogram is an investigation performed on people with suspected or symptomatic coronary artery  disease. If there are indications that your coronary arteries may have become narrowed or blocked, the exact position and severity of the narrowing or blockage needs to be known. This allows the cardiologist to determine the most appropriate treatment for you. Cardiac catheterisation or coronary angiography is performed under local anaesthetic. A long tube or catheter is inserted into the radial artery in the wrist or femoral artery in the leg. It is guided into the coronary arteries of the heart by X Ray imaging. A contrast dye is then injected into the coronary arteries to determine if any disease is present. Most patients will be discharged home the same day following a recovery period of several hours. In some cases, the cardiologist will proceed to angioplasty or stenting at the same session if significant disease and symptoms are present.

Angioplasty

Angioplasty is a procedure where a balloon is used to open a narrowed or blocked coronary artery in the heart. Over 2000 angioplasty procedures are done in Ireland every year. Using a guiding catheter similar to the catheters used in angiography, a wire is place into the catheter and across the narrowing in the coronary artery. A balloon is then advanced over the wire and positioned inside the blockage. The balloon is then inflated to compress the plaque material into the artery wall and restore flow down the artery.  Angioplasty is then usually followed by stenting of the coronary artery.

Stenting

A coronary stent is a stainless steel mesh tube that acts as a scaffold to keep an artery open. The stent is advanced over a wire to the site of the blockage. A balloon inside the stent is inflated to compress the stent into the artery wall and provide a conduit through the artery allowing the blood to flow freely to the heart muscle. After angioplasty or stenting, you will return to the Coronary Care Unit overnight for observation. You will need to take anti- platelet drugs such as aspirin and plavix to prevent any blood clotting in the stent in the future. Most patients are discharged home the following day to follow up with their cardiologist in a few weeks time.