Coronary Angiography (Radial Artery access)
Coronary Angiography is an important procedure in the diagnosis and treatment of coronary artery disease. The Coronary Angiogram procedure uses x-ray imaging iodine based contrast (dye) and catheterization enabling your Cardiologist to see if the coronary arteries are narrowed or blocked, and if necessary perform a procedure such as an angioplasty immediately.
Part of a general group of procedures known as cardiac catheterization, a coronary angiogram is one of the most common types of heart catheterization procedures. During a coronary angiogram, a type of dye that's visible by an X-ray machine is injected into the blood vessels of your heart. The x-ray machine then rapidly takes a series of images, offering a detailed look at the inside of your blood vessels. If a problem such as a narrowed or block artery is found, your Cardiologist can usually begin immediate intervention during the procedure.
What is radial artery access?
While the femoral artery (near the groin) has been the traditional approach for coronary procedures, access via the radial artery (in the wrist) has shown to present a number of advantages making it an attractive alternative.
With femoral artery access, the patient will need to lie flat without bending the leg for 4 to 6 hours following the procedure to allow the artery to heal. In some rare cases, even with prolonged immobility, internal bleeding can occur. With radial artery access the risk of bleeding complication is significantly reduced.
As the radial artery is much smaller and located closer to the skin surface internal bleeding is eliminated and any external bleeding can be easily compressed. After the catheter is removed from the radial artery a compression device is placed around the wrist to apply pressure on the artery, and the patient is free to move around immediately.
Cardiologist may recommend a coronary angiogram:
- In emergency situations such as during a heart attack, to unblock an artery as a life saving procedure
- For symptoms of coronary artery disease, such as chest pain (angina)
- For exertional Dyspnoea (shortness of breath) unexplained by other causes
- Following an abnormal Stress test/ Nuclear scan
- Following an abnormal CT coronary angiogram and suspicious symptoms of angina
- For pain in your chest, jaw, neck or arm that cannot be explained by other tests
- For new or increasing chest pain (unstable angina)
- To evaluate a heart defect you were born with (congenital heart disease)
- To further assess heart failure and planning for treatment
- For a heart valve problem that requires surgery