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Angiography allows your doctor to assess the flow of blood through the arteries. Under x-ray visualization, contrast (x-ray dye) is injected and images are taken of the arteries. As the contrast is injected pictures are recorded and viewed on a television monitor.
The arrow on the edge of the diagram on the left shows where the flow of blood through a coronary artery is being blocked. Diagram on the right is the same artery after a stent has been inserted to open the artery and improve blood flow.
Cardiac catheterization is performed by advancing catheters to chambers of the heart to measure blood flow and pressure.
Your doctor will use catheters to obtain these x-ray pictures of your arteries and measure pressures within the heart chambers. During the procedure, you will see monitors nearby and may be able to see your electrocardiogram (EKG) and the pictures of your heart and arteries. The entire procedure may take one to two hours. In preparation for this procedure you will be required to have nothing by mouth for six hours. After the procedure is completed, recovery may take 4 to 6 hours. During this time you may be permitted to have something light to eat.
The For Patients section has instructions for preparation of cardiac catheterization, angiography and electrophysiology studies.