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.
During a coronary angiogram, a type of dye that's visible by an X-ray machine is injected into the blood vessels of your heart. The X-ray machine rapidly takes a series of images (angiograms), offering a detailed look at the inside of your blood vessels. If necessary, your doctor can perform procedures such as an angioplasty during your coronary angiogram.
You will usually be able to leave hospital on the same day you have a coronary angiography after a period of rest and observation. Most people feel fine a day or so after having the procedure, although you may feel a bit tired afterwards and the wound site is likely to be tender for up to a week. Any bruising may last for several weeks. You will usually be advised to avoid certain activities, such as bathing, driving and lifting heavy objects, for a day or two after the procedure.
The term angioplasty means using a balloon to stretch open a narrowed or blocked artery. However, most modern angioplasty procedures also involve inserting a short wire-mesh tube, called a stent, into the artery during the procedure. The stent is left in place permanently to allow blood to flow more freely.
Angioplasty opens blocked arteries and restores normal blood flow to your heart muscle. It is not major surgery. It is done by threading a catheter (thin tube) through a small puncture in a leg or arm artery to the heart. The blocked artery is opened by inflating a tiny balloon in it.
An echocardiogram creates a clear image of the heart by using high frequency sound waves. We use these images to accurately diagnose and make clinical decisions. There are several different types of echocardiograms and each presents a different perspective of the heart.
A transthoracic echocardiogram (also called an echo) is a test that uses high frequency sound waves, called ultrasound, to examine and take pictures of your heart. It is a safe and painless procedure that helps doctors diagnose a variety of heart problems. During most echocardiographic procedures an additional test, called Doppler echocardiography, is performed to determine the direction and velocity of blood flow within your heart.
A transesophageal echo (TEE) test is a type of echo test in which the ultrasound transducer, positioned on an endoscope, is guided down the patient's throat into the esophagus (the "food pipe" leading from the mouth into the stomach). An endoscope is a long, thin, flexible instrument that is about ½ inch in diameter.
The TEE test provides a close look at the heart's valves and chambers, without interference from the ribs or lungs. TEE is often used when the results from standard echo tests are not sufficient, or when your doctor wants a closer look at your heart.
Cardiac catheterization is a procedure used to diagnose and treat cardiovascular conditions. During cardiac catheterization, a long thin tube called a catheter is inserted in an artery or vein in your groin, neck or arm and threaded through your blood vessels to your heart. Using this catheter, doctors can then do diagnostic tests as part of a cardiac catheterization. Some heart disease treatments, such as coronary angioplasty, also are done using cardiac catheterization.
Usually, you'll be awake during cardiac catheterization, but given medications to help you relax. Recovery time for a cardiac catheterization is quick, and there's a low risk of complications.
A pacemaker is a device that sends small electrical impulses to the heart muscle to maintain a suitable heart rate or to stimulate the lower chambers of the heart (ventricles).
Our heart has its own internal electrical system that controls the rate and rhythm of your heartbeat. With each heartbeat, an electrical signal spreads from the top of your heart to the bottom. As the signal travels, it causes the heart to contract and pump blood. Each electrical signal normally begins in a group of cells called the sinus node or sinoatrial (SA) node. As the signal spreads from the top of the heart to the bottom, it coordinates the timing of heart cell activity. First, the heart's two upper chambers, the atria (AY-tree-uh), contract. This contraction pumps blood into the heart's two lower chambers, the ventricles (VEN-trih-kuls).
The Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) provides supervision and support for infants and children with congenital or acquired heart disease. The CICU is staffed by full-time, board-certified pediatric intensivists and cardiologists with special expertise in the management of patients with cardiac disorders, as well as specially trained nurses, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, social workers and multiple other professionals, working in close collaboration with pediatric cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons.