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First Time for Angiogram

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I am going to hospital on Monday for an angiogram after failing a stress test. I am 43 years old and scared right now. I failed the test 2 weeks ago. I immediately gave up smoking (I know, close the gate after the horse bolted..and all that). Just really scared right now. I'm married with two kids and would just like some reassurance from folks who have had this done. Thanks.
Steve, Nevada, USA, September 27, 2007

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Current Postings on This Page (17):

• JimH in Essex - Can't comment on the possibility of AF since we can't really see your specific medical records. But there is an alternative to an invasive angiogram: the Cardiac CT scan. This is not necessarily available everywhere and should only be performed by operators who use the most up-to-date scanners and who are trained in interpretation, but Cardiac CT is very accurate in terms of ruling out coronary artery disease (CAD). See
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, August 2, 2022

• I have an impending angiogram for suspected angina. I also suffer from paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. Typically, I get an episode of PAF every 5 months or so which lasts for about 8 hours. It's a known risk that PAF can progress to permanent AF, but I wondered if an angiogram could provoke permanent AF because of the disturbance to the heart? I don't mean in my particular case, but in general. Doctors I have asked have been rather vague in their responses to my questions on this. A second question: I have read that microemboli can break off during an angiogram procedure and go to the brain. This can-in extreme cases- cause stroke apparently, but in other cases cognitive decline. Could anyone say anything about this latter risk?
JimH, Essex, UK, August 2, 2022

• Thought I was the most healthy 65 y/o around until I had a calcium score done. 662. I think the MD said the stress test was good while I was being stressed but something look[ed] odd afterward so now I'm having the cath on Tues. The stress of simply having my self image shattered is making me feel like something is wrong when I never felt that way before. To avoid this day, my wife and I have intentionally eaten healthy and I exercised 4-5x/wk for the 25 years at my job because they gave us extra time at lunch for this purpose. Now this. Can't fight genetics.
BradMM, Texas, USA, August 4, 2019

• When looking at a two-dimensional image of a turn or curl in an artery, the contrast dye in each part of the artery superimposes itself over the other, It's kind of like taking two sunglass lenses and putting one one part of the other; the doubled up part of the lens is twice as dark. So when an artery turns, over passes over another artery, the shading from the contrast dye "doubles up" and looks like a dark spot. It's actually nothing more than a turn. A blockage is actually negative space -- for example where your right artery flattens out near the bottom, you can see an uneven area -- this is plaque (in negative space) -- the dark part of the artery shows the "lumen", the space through which blood can flow, which is somewhat contricted in this area.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, September 5, 2011

• I am trying to educate myself about my condition.What are these dark spots on the image of my RCA?RCA angiogram
Very Very Worried Houston, Texas, USA, August 27, 2011

• Steve, At 38 I had my first Angiogram and a week before my 42nd birthday had my first heart attack. So 1 stent and one angioplasty later I am still here! The procedure itself isn't really all that bad. I have had several angiograms in the last 4 years. I too am scared every time before I go into that cath lab. That's natural. Expect some soreness and to lay in bed for what seems like an eternity immediately after. I wish you the best of luck!
TinaC, Belpre, Ohio, USA, January 11, 2011

• Cami -- This is a conversation you should have with your cardiologist BEFORE the angiogram. He or she can explain your current clinical situation to you and what circumstances might warrant thinking about putting in a stent. Also, what you as a patient will need to do after getting a stent -- like take Plavix and aspirin for a year. So it's better to discuss these issues prior to the procedure. Also patients are usually given a relaxant or sedative to make them more comfortable, so then is not the time to be making decisions. We believe you have to sign a consent form for any procedure being done, so make sure you understand what you are signing. But the best situation is to have that talk, and get a sense of trust established between you and your doctor.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, December 7, 2010

• am going in for an angiogram - scared they are going to put a stent in. can I request the doc not put one in?
Cami, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, December 6, 2010

• Had angio 9 weeks ago. Piece of cake. Only problem was one week later when my cardiologist pressed to sense a pulse at the groin site. I grabbed his hand and he said "sorry, i forgot". LOL Not to worry.
Seaboy, Glastonbury, Connecticut, USA, October 7, 2010

• Liz from Oman -- will the doctor being going in from the leg/groin (femoral) or wrist (radial)? Angiograms are safe procedures, although there is always a risk with any medical procedure. Complication rate for femoral is 3-4% -- half that for radial. Also, the doctor may wish to treat the blockages with angioplasty and stents as an extended part of the diagnostic angiogram (it only adds a little time onto the procedure) -- so you're not surprised, you should discuss this with the cardiologist -- what the implications are, what medications will be needed, etc. Good luck and let us know how things turned out.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, August 18, 2010

• My mother is 69 years. And has 4-5 blocks Doctor says. And has become weak just had a pressure problem to 210 now normal but she feels weak can we go in for an angiography as doctor suggested. Hope it's not risky.
Liz, Oman, August 17, 2010

• Steve, I'm glad everything has gone so well for you so but now, in retrospect, you might want to check these links to see if you were given all the information a patient in your situation should really need to know before undergoing an invasive angiogram. Please let us know.
Gerald O, Illinois, USA, October 4, 2007

• Steve - I had 14 angiograms and made it through each one (obviously). I have 16 Stents, (inserted in my coronary arteries in four years) the last one was inserted on the 13th of Sept. 2007. I had a few well wishers there say to me -"Well, we hope this will be the last one you will ever need" - I replied "Oh Hell no, the only way that can happen is if I die". See, Stents are not a cure - they just let you live long enough to have the need for another one (if you're lucky . . .I think). My first Angiogram was negative - 7 short years later BAM! So stay smoke free, lose the weight, exercise and eat healthy! It's a better way to go through life - trust me! Peace . . .
RayZ, San Marcos, California, USA, October 3, 2007

• I had the angiogram on monday and was back home in the afternoon. The person doing it could not find any blockages and said i was fine. Keep off the smokes, heat more healthy and lose 25 lbs. I wasn't sure if i was relieved or suspicious of not finding anything. Honestly I had built up a whole scenario of me been sent off for bypass surgery and worse. I'm a bit sore and taking the rest of the week off work. I want to thank the folks in the cardio dept of ST Rose Dominican Siena in Henderson NV. They put my mind at rest and looked after me real well throughout the day. Thank you as well for your kind responses.
Steve, Nevada, USA, October 3, 2007

• Hi Steve, This note comes to you from the beautiful island of Barbados in the Caribbean, I had a heart attack 1 Feb 2002, like you failed a stress test and had angiogram done...which reveal 60% blockage in the RDA, was placed on meds, but had pain in the chest again on March 2003, had another angiogram..found 90% blockage on the same RDA...was send over to the States, Holmes Regional Medical Center, Melbourne, Florida. Had another angio done and stent placed. This is going now four year and some months..(knock on wood) and no major problems as yet. So just keep your chin up and do what your doctors suggest...ask your doctors loads of questions, read information relating to heart disease, and most of all keep on your meds..and never never smoke all the best, and I hope I was of some comfort Regards Hal
hal, Barbados, October 3, 2007

• Steve, Understand your anxiety. This procedure is relatively routine these days. I have had two (2) done with the last one resulting in the insertion of 2 "drug-emitting" stents done on August 10 of this year. After the procedure I wondered why I was so concerned. I chalked it up to fear of the unknown.
D., Washington DC, USA, October 2, 2007

• Steve -- an angiogram or catheterization or "cath" is the gold standard for determining what the actual status of the coronary arteries is. It's a common procedure. Sometimes stress tests are positive, but a cath turns out to show little disease. However, sometimes a definite obstructive blockage is found (also called a lesion or stenosis). Our suggestion is to discuss your options with your cardiologist before the cath, so you are clear what might occur. Is his/her plan to open up any significant blockage found with a balloon/stent during the cath or will this just be a diagnostic cath procedure? If an interventional is performed, this is called an ad hoc angioplasty and is usually done when there is no question that this particular blockage is significant and is causing a problem -- the angioplasty takes very little addiitonal time and saves having to perform the entire cath procedure again at a later date. If a stent is planned, will the cardiologist be using a bare metal or a drug-eluting type? Just be aware of the requirements for patients to stay on antiplatelet therapy for a year or more after drug-eluting stents to prevent late stent thrombosis. This is not usually a problem, unless you are going to need surgery, or unless you have bleeding problems or are allergic to Plavix or aspirin. Your cardiologist knows about these things, but make sure you do as well and let your cardiologist know if there might be circumstances that could prevent you from complying. And let the Forum know how you do. Good luck!
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, September 30, 2007

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