Coronary Angiogram Care

Learn what care is required for the Coronary Angiogram procedure. Find out what you need to do prior to the procedure, how long it will take, if you will be required to stay in the hospital and what the postoperative care is.

Coronary Angiogram Details

Alternate Names for Coronary Angiogram:
Cardiac catheterization
Coronary angiography
Coronary arteriography

What to Expect Prior to Procedure

Your doctor may order:

  • Blood and urine tests
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG, EKG)-a test that records the heart's activity by measuring electrical currents through the heart muscle
  • Stress test

Talk to your doctor about your medicines. You may be asked to stop taking some medicines before the procedure, like:

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs (eg, ibuprofen )
  • Blood thinners, like or warfarin (Coumadin)
  • clopidogrel (Plavix)
  • Metformin (Glucophage) or glyburide and metformin (Glucovance)

Leading up to your procedure:

  • Arrange for a ride to and from the procedure.
  • The night before, do not eat or drink anything after midnight.


Local anesthesia will be used at the insertion site. A mild sedative may be given one hour before or through IV during the procedure. This will help you relax.

Description of the Procedure

During the procedure, you will receive IV fluids and medicines. An EKG will be monitoring your heart's activity.

You will be awake but sedated so that you will be more relaxed. Your doctor will ask you to do basic functions such as coughing, breathing out, and holding your breath. If you feel any chest pain, dizziness, nausea, tingling, or other discomfort, tell your doctor.

The area of the groin or arm where the catheter will be inserted is shaved, cleaned, and numbed. A needle will be inserted into a blood vessel. A wire will be passed through the needle and into the blood vessel. The wire will then be guided through until it reaches your heart. A soft, flexible catheter tube will then be slipped over the wire and threaded up to your heart.

The doctor will be taking x-ray pictures during the procedure to know where the wire and catheter are. Dye will be injected into the arteries of the heart. This will make the arteries and heart show up on the x-ray images. You may feel warm during the dye injection.

Once in place, the catheter can be used to take measurements. Blood pressure can be taken within the heart's different chambers. Blood samples may also be taken. Multiple x-ray images will be taken to look for any disease in the arteries. An aortogram may also be done at this time. This step will give a clear image of the aorta (large artery leaving the heart). Once all the tests and images are complete, the catheter will be removed.

Sometimes, the doctor will perform balloon angioplasty and stenting if he finds an area in your arteries that is narrow or clogged. These are procedures that help to open narrowed arteries.

Finally, a bandage will be placed over the groin or arm area.

How Long Will It Take?

The procedure takes about 1-2 hours. Preparation before the test will take another 1-2 hours.

How Much Will It Hurt?

Although the procedure is generally not painful, it can cause some discomfort, including:

  • Burning sensation (when skin at catheter insertion site is anesthetized)
  • Pressure when catheter is inserted or replaced with other catheters
  • A flushing feeling or nausea when the dye is injected
  • Headache
  • Heart palpitations

Pain medicine will be given when needed.

Average Hospital Stay

0-1 days

Postoperative Care At the Care Center
  • EKG and blood studies may be done.
  • You will likely need to lie still and flat on your back for a period of time. A pressure dressing may be placed over the area where the catheter was inserted to help prevent bleeding. It is important to follow the nurse's directions.
At Home

When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:

  • Do not drive for 72 hours.
  • Do not lift heavy objects or engage in strenuous exercise or sexual activity for at least 5-7 days.
  • Change the dressing around the incision area as instructed.
  • Your doctor will explain to you which medicines you can take and which ones to avoid. Take medicines as instructed.
  • Ice may help decrease discomfort at the insertion site. You may apply the ice for 15-20 minutes each hour, for the first few days.
  • To lower your risk for further complications of heart disease, you can make lifestyle changes. These include eating a healthier diet, exercising regularly, and managing stress.
  • Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions .


Learn what Coronary Angiogram is
What Is
Learn what the procedure is. Find out how it is performed.
Reasons For Coronary Angiogram
Reasons For
Find out why and when this procedure should be done.
Coronary Angiogram Complications
Learn about possible complications and what might increase the risk of them.
Coronary Angiogram Details
What to Expect
Find out how long it will take, what they will be doing and what to expect afterwards.
Coronary Angiogram Results
What are the next steps and other possible tests needed after you have received the results.
When to Contact Doctor about Coronary Angiogram
Call Your Doctor
What to look out for and when to call your doctor after a procedure has been done.

Latest Articles

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright ©2014 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved. Source: EBSCO