We all are familiar with the term angiography but not everyone knows about its exact meaning. Angiography is the process of checking the functioning of the heart. In this process, angiograms are made through the use of X-ray imaging. This imaging process is used to check the working of heart blood vessels. If someone has a problem due to restriction of blood flow in their coronary arteries or veins then this test is being done to check the restriction. Current ethical issues in health care In general terms, we can explain it as the use of dye or X-rays to see the flow of blood in the arteries of your heart.
Why angiography is needed?
Many people feel angina( pain in the heart) and heart attack symptoms. In such scenarios, the doctors want to know that either it is happening because of the restriction of blood flow or there is something else. For this purpose, an angiography is needed so that the result of this angiography may come in the form of angiograms. And those angiograms can tell clearly that the person has narrowed arteries or not? After this, the doctor can easily decide that either he has to keep the patients on medicines or if there is a need for bypass surgery. Moreover, its results can help doctors to tell patients what to do and how to take care of their hearts. This can help patients to avoid dangerous diseases such as gangrene, stroke, and organ failure. This can also reduce death rates by taking precautions for heart attacks.
How the angiography is performed?
Coronary angiography is done with the help of cardiac catheterization. It is a method through which pressure inside the heart chambers can be measured. The steps for this process is given below;
- Before starting this process, the doctors will give you a mild sedative to keep you relax.
- After this, an area of your body which can be arm or groin is cleaned out. And an anesthetic medicine is put on in this place in the form of injection.
- And then the cardiologist uses a thin hollow tube which is called a catheter through your artery.
- The next step is to carefully move the catheter to your heart from your arm. The X-rays in front of the cardiologist help them position the catheter.
- When the doctor feels that the catheter is in its right place the doctor injects dye into the catheter.
- At this moment the X-ray images are seen to check that how the dye is flowing in those images and this is how the flow of blood can be seen inside your heart.
- If there is a blockage of flow in your heart, this dye can easily spot that.
- This procedure lasts for almost 30-60 minutes.
Is angiography painful?
No, it’s not painful. The surgeons give you an anesthesia injection in your wrist and after this your body becomes numb. A small incision is made to enter the catheter in your body. So that they may see the functionality through X-rays.
Types of angiography:
There are a variety of angiography procedures that can be used to assess the heart condition of the patient.
1. Computed tomography angiography:
In this process, doctors utilize software, hardware, X-ray to produce axial, horizontal images of all the blood vessels for the diagnostic process.
2. Coronary angiography:
In this angiography, the internal structure of arteries is viewed. These structural images can spot stenoses in the heart which are causing chest pain or blockage.
3. Digital subtraction angiography:
This angiography checks the blood vessels of the brain and then their blood flow level is measured.
4. Radionuclide angiography:
It is a kind of nuclear medicine procedure. In this angiography, a small amount of radioactive tracer is used to examine the target issue. Plus resting nuclide angiography is used to check the chambers of the heart in the movement phase.
5. Pulmonary angiography:
For checking various conditions such as stenosis, blockages, and aneurysm, doctors use this process. In this method, the blood vessels are deeply assessed.
6. Magnetic resonance angiography:
This method uses contrast dye and magnetic resonance imaging to visualize the blood vessels. Doctors use it commonly to assess the heart’s tissues and its blood flow.
Different therapies can be placed during angiography. These therapies include angioplasty and stent placement.
- Percutaneous coronary intervention is a type of nonsurgical method in which the narrowed arteries of the heart are opened. This procedure makes the restoration of blood flow in the heart muscle which might have been affected due to the build-up of plaque and blood clots inside arteries. But plague ruptures then this can also make a blood clot in that place. On the other hand, plague can also become large and it can burst the arteries. That is why PCI is used to treat the person with a catheter and a balloon on its tip. This tip is used to clean the artery from a blood clot and plague with the help of X-ray imagery. This procedure can lessen the symptoms of angina and damage caused by a heart attack.
- Moreover, Stens can also be inserted into the heart during surgery. A stent is placed around a balloon before it gets inflated. The balloon also helps the stent to place in the right artery. After this, the balloon is deflated, and then it is taken out. But the stent remains in your arteries of the heart and with time this stent gets mixed with flesh.
Possible side effects of angiography:
Although it is done for the betterment of health it has some side effects on human health too. Major healthcare debates in 2021 Let’s discuss them now;
- Patients may feel bruising and bleeding where there was a catheter inserted.
- In some cases, parts of arterial breakage can break, and then they may travel to some other area of arteries.
- It can cause kidney damage due to dye in some cases but it is temporary.
- It may lead to heart attack, stroke, or sometimes damage to an artery due to internal bleeding. In such scenarios, further surgery is needed to deal with this problem.