Invasive Coronary Angiography

A coronary angiogram is an invasive procedure performed in a room known as a catheterization laboratory or cath lab. The procedure is typically performed via the wrist or less commonly via the groin.  A local anaesthetic is administered and a catheter (long hollow tube) is inserted into the artery in the wrist or groin and threaded up to the heart over a wire. A special dye, known as contrast medium, is then injected into the coronary arteries supplying the heart muscle and then real-time X-rays (flurorscopy) are used guide the procedure and to see whether disease is present (i.e. atherosclerosis). If a blockage in the blood vessel is observed further testing with iFR or FFR may be carried out in order to assess the functional significance of the blockage.

In addition, a tube known as a pig tail catheter may be inserted into the left lower heart chamber to perform a left ventriculogram to determine the function of the heart. During this test you will feel a warm flush over the entire body, which is caused by the injection of a larger volume of contrast medium to visualize the entire lower left chamber of the heart.