Reasons, Preparation and Procedure of a Heart Angiogram

Submitted on March 27, 2012

An angiogram of the heart is a kind of an x-ray that is done using a special dye and a camera known as fluoroscopy. The procedure allows the doctor to take photographs of the flow of blood in an artery or vein. An angiogram is used to look at veins or arteries in the belly, back, chest, legs, arms and head. Common angiograms look at the arteries near the aorta, legs or arms, neck and head, brain, lungs, and heart.

Angiogram of the Heart

When an angiogram is done, a catheter is inserted into a blood vessel by injecting it in the groin region. It is injected in the femoral artery. The catheter can also be placed above the elbow in the brachial artery. An iodine dye is introduced into the blood vessel so that the area becomes visible in the in X-ray images. Also known as catheter angiogram or conventional angiogram, the procedure helps to locate an aneurysm or reveals a blockage or narrowing in a blood vessel that can reduces the flow of blood. A heart attack angiogram can show if a person has heart disease.

A MRA or magnetic resonance angiogram, or a CTA or computed tomography angiogram are the other forms of an angiogram. These tests are less invasive than a conventional angiogram.

Reasons Why It is Conducted

An angiogram is done for the following reasons -

  • It is done to check for problems with blood vessels that can have an impact on the blood flow.
  • It is done to check for changes in the veins or blood vessels of damaged organs.
  • An angiogram can trace the pattern of the flow of blood as also the presence of a tumour. It can help in detecting if the tumour has spread and can thus determine the necessary treatment.
  • An angiogram can show the location, number and condition of renal arteries before a kidney transplant.
  • It can help doctors look for the source of bleeding.
  • If people suffer from severe leg pain while they walk, then an angiogram may be conducted to help doctors prepare for the surgery that they might be performing on diseased blood vessels.
  • Heart angiogram is done to check the condition of atherosclerosis in the coronary arteries.
  • Sometimes, interventional radiology is done along with an angiogram to treat health problems.


You should inform your doctor at the very beginning if you are pregnant If you are breast feeding, then you will have to use formula milk for a couple of days till the dye gets flushed out of your body. If you are allergic to the dye or to any medicines, then you need to let your doctor know of the same before the test is conducted. In fact, if you have had any allergic reaction to any substance, then too you need to tell your doctor immediately. You also need to tell your doctor if you are suffering from asthma, or have diabetes or kidney problems.