Coronary Angiography and Stenting


A coronary angiogram is an X-ray film taken to outline the anatomy of the coronary arteries. Special long thin tubes (catheters) are inserted via the leg or wrist to the heart and contrast is injected directly into the coronary arteries. The detailed information obtained allows accurate determination of the presence (or absence) of narrowings of the coronary arteries. The procedure may be performed on out-patients as a day-case. (See Section 4 for more information). On occasion, further information can be obtained concerning pressures within the heart and lungs at the same time.


If a significant narrowing of the coronary arteries is demonstrated by an angiogram, this can often be addressed by passing balloons into the narrowed areas and inflating them (angioplasty). Usually, a small metal scaffolding, a stent, is left in the artery to keep it open. Multiple stents may be needed to treat extensive disease.