A coronary angiogram screens your heart in order to determine the best course of treatment. The procedure will require a short stay in hospital.
During the procedure:
- You lie on a padded table and your doctor numbs a spot on your groin or arm and inserts a thin tube (catheter) into an artery and up to the heart.
- A dye-like fluid (called contrast media) goes through the catheter to show the arteries clearly on the x-ray.
- The coronary angiogram provides a 360-degree view of your heart in high definition.
- You may feel slight pressure as the catheter goes in and some discomfort or chest pain when the fluid enters. It's normal to feel nausea or shortness of breath – but you can distract yourself by watching the procedure on the screen.
- Once the catheter has been removed, a member of staff applies direct pressure to the spot for 15-30 minutes to ensure no internal bleeding.
- You'll then rest in your hospital room for several hours.
Think you might need an angiogram? Find out what to do.
Heart stenting can reduce the effects of blocked arteries if prescribed medications and lifestyle changes have not been sufficiently effective. This can be done as a continuation of the coronary angiogram process. It is minimally invasive and the success rate is very high (around 90 percent) and the risk of complications very low.
During the heart stenting procedure:
- A flexible catheter with a deflated balloon at the tip is introduced into an artery in your leg.
- The catheter is guided towards the affected part of the coronary artery, and the balloon inflated and deflated several times in order to squeeze the plaque against the wall of the coronary arteries, thus widening the artery and allowing a greater flow of blood through it. This procedure is known as 'ballooning' or more formally as percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA).
- A stent (a tiny expandable metal coil) may also be implanted to help keep the artery open and decrease the risk of it blocking again.
Learn more with a quick guide to heart stenting.
A heart bypass (called a coronary artery bypass grafting or CABG) is a surgical procedure performed in cases of severe coronary heart disease to bypass blocked arteries and restore normal blood flow to the heart.
During the heart bypass procedure:
Healthy blood vessels are grafted from another part of the body, including leg veins or the internal mammary artery. The vessels are surgically removed and sewn around the blocked part of the affected artery to create a new route for the blood to flow to the heart. This alleviates symptoms such as angina (chest pain) and can lower the risk of heart attack, especially for diabetics.
Find out more information about heart bypass surgery.
How do I get these treatments?
When you're worried that you may have heart problems – or know that you definitely need treatment – you want to be treated as quickly, efficiently and safely as possible. Mount Elizabeth Hospitals has an experienced team of cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons.
Find out some of the medical procedures available should you need to undergo heart treatment. With the correct insurance coverage, your bill size can be better gauged and managed, while Mount Elizabeth Hospitals can assist with all Medisave, MediShield Life and Integrated Shield Plan claims.
Gain more clarity on your hospital bill size.