A coronary angiogram is a procedure that uses X-ray imaging to see your heart's blood vessels. Coronary angiograms are part of a general group of procedures known as heart (cardiac) catheterization.
Heart catheterization procedures can both diagnose and treat heart and blood vessel conditions. A coronary angiogram, which can help diagnose heart conditions, is the most common type of heart catheterization procedure.
Angioplasty & Stenting Procedures.
If 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.
Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting and a Valve Replacement Surgery.
In patients who have been found to have severe coronary artery disease and/or severe valvular heart disease an operation may be required.
This surgery is available at the Galway Clinic. For more information, please contact the Cardio-thoracic Department.
Electrophysiology Studies and Arrhythmia Ablation.
An electrophysiology (EP) study is an invasive procedure allowing detailed testing of the electrical system of the heart.
Catheters are placed via veins in the leg into the heart. The test helps to determine the causes of dizziness, fainting or loss of consciousness, palpitations and rapid or slow heart beats.
It can also evaluate the risk of sudden cardiac death in high risk patients with heart disease. If an abnormal heart rhythm or source of palpitations is identified, it may be permanently cured by ablation (electrical cautery or freezing) during the procedure.
Right Heart Catheterisation.
This procedure consists of passing a thin tube (catheter) into the right side of the heart to measure blood pressure in the heart and lungs and also blood flow.
Permanent Pacemaker Insertion
If the heart is beating too slowly, that is causing problems of low blood pressure or even loss of consciousness, there may be a problem with the electrical conduction system of the heart.
This may be treatable by insertion of a pacemaker. A small incision is made in the chest and the device is placed under the skin. This is then attached to lead(s) that are passed through a vein and positioned in the heart.
Automatic Implantable Cardiac Defibrillators (AICDS).
AICDS are devices used to prevent sudden cardiac death in high risk patients. They are implanted by an Interventional Cardiologist.
The AICD is similar to a pacemaker except larger in size and can deliver electrical shocks to the heart, if needed to stabilize the heart rhythm.
For more information, please contact the Cardiology Department of the Galway Clinic.
Closure of Cardiac Defects
Instead of closing at birth, abnormal holes between the walls of the chambers in the heart may occasionally persist into adulthood (e.g. patent foramen ovale, atrial septal defect).
These abnormal connections may be associated with conditions causing symptoms including disturbance of heart rhythm, heart failure, strokes and possibly even migraine headaches. These holes can be identified by echocardiograms.
Technology has been developed to close such defects without the need for major surgery and these procedures can be performed at the Galway Clinic.
Devices are passed to the heart via veins in the leg, placed over the defect in the heart to block it off and patients may go home the next day.
Alternatively, if the heart anatomy is not suitable for this approach, an open-heart procedure can be performed instead, also available here at the Galway Clinic.
Acute Chest Pain Unit.
This unit accepts urgent referrals from general practitioners for assessment of cardiac- sounding chest pain in a rapid-track fashion.
The Chest pain assessment nurse and a cardiologist review all patients and organize suitable investigations (troponin, exercise test etc).
High-risk patients are admitted for further assessment as required