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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Cardiothoracic Services

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Coronary angiography

A coronary angiogram, or cardiac catheterisation, shows us where and how severe any narrowed areas in your arteries are. We can also measure pressures in the heart to find out how well the heart-pump and valves are working. We can then decide what treatments you need, such as an angioplasty or heart surgery.

Having a coronary angiogram

You will be asked not to eat or drink anything for a few hours before your angiogram takes place. This test is done in a 'cath lab', which is like an operating theatre, and you can expect the test to last half an hour, although it can sometimes take longer.

You will be asked to lie on a table and drapes will be placed to keep everything clean. We can use your arm or groin to place a catheter (a thin, flexible tube) into your arteries and heart. Using an X-ray, the catheter will be directed through the blood vessels and into your heart. A special dye will then be passed through the catheter and a series of X-rays will be taken. The dye will show up any narrowed areas or blockages in the artery on the X-ray.