The coronary arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart. A waxy substance called plaque (plak) can build up inside the coronary arteries. The buildup of plaque in the coronary arteries is called coronary heart disease (CHD). Hardened plaque narrows the coronary arteries and reduces the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart. A large blood clot can mostly or completely block blood flow through a coronary artery. This is the most common cause of a heart attack.
Coronary angiogram is performed by inserting a small catheter through the skin into an artery. Guided with the assistance of a special x-ray viewing instrument, the catheter is then advanced to the opening of the coronary arteries. The dye (containing iodine) is injected into each coronary artery. The images that are produced are called the angiogram. The procedure takes approximately 20-30 minutes.
Angiographic images accurately reveal the extent and severity of all coronary artery blockages. For those who have markedly abnormal noninvasive tests for CAD (such as stress tests), the angiogram also helps the doctor select the optimal treatment including - medications, balloon angioplasty, coronary stenting or coronary artery bypass surgery if necessary.