What an Angiogram Can Tell You About Your Arteries

What an Angiogram Can Tell You About Your Arteries

Life’s everyday bumps and bruises are no cause for alarm, but heart problems warrant your serious concern — and ours.

At Vascular Associates of San Diego in La Mesa, our team of board-certified vascular surgeons specializes in detecting, treating, and managing all types of heart conditions. For over three decades, we’ve cared for patients throughout Southern California, keeping their hearts in top shape so they can live life to the fullest.

We accomplish this through advanced technology and techniques, including cardiac catheterizations. Vascular surgeons around the country perform millions of these procedures yearly, allowing us to see inside your veins, evaluate their function and health, and treat problems simultaneously.

One of the most valuable types of cardiac catheterization we use is a coronary angiogram — an X-ray of your heart’s vessels. Here’s why you might need an angiogram and what it tells us about your heart health.

Why you might need an angiogram

Some heart problems sneak up on you without warning signs, but if you’re having symptoms, it’s time to get checked out. Here are some of the signs you may need to have an angiogram:

Even erectile dysfunction (ED) in men can signal a heart problem due to another kind of ‘ED’ — endothelial dysfunction, a condition where your blood vessels don’t dilate properly. 

Before performing an angiogram, we may run several blood tests to check your cholesterol, blood glucose, and triglyceride levels. 

If we suspect coronary, carotid, renal, or peripheral artery disease or an aneurism, we order an angiogram to get a better look at your arteries.

What to expect when you need an angiogram

Having an angiogram doesn’t hurt, but knowing what to expect can ease any anxiety you may be feeling. During the procedure, you lie down on our X-ray table. We numb a small area of skin at your groin and may give you a light sedative to help you relax. After we make a tiny incision, we insert a short sheath into the opening and follow that with a long, slender tube called a catheter. 

The catheter travels through your blood vessel and up to your heart. Next, we deliver a special dye through the catheter so the X-ray machine can pick up the image of the blood flowing through the vessels. 

When the test is over, we remove the catheter, bandage your incision, and keep an eye on you for a couple of hours to ensure all is well. You go home the same day unless we perform a treatment or repair during the procedure, which may require an extended stay.

What angiogram results show us

Our experts at Vascular Associates of San Diego rely on angiograms for vital information about your blood vessels. The X-rays give us real-time results and tell us:

We also use angiograms to monitor the results of coronary bypass surgery. 

Dual functions of angiograms

Angiograms serve us in two ways: they help us diagnose and treat heart problems. 

Diagnostic angiograms

When you present with symptoms of heart disease, an angiogram lets us know which specific condition you have, its location, and how severe it is. Armed with this information, we can begin treatment and help you manage your symptoms.

Treatments during angiograms

Depending on what we find during your angiogram, we may be able to treat the problem at the same time. Because the catheter is already in place, it allows us access to blockages that we can clear away. For example, we may remove excess plaque from your arteries, create a bypass graft to skirt an aortic aneurism, dissolve a blood clot, or insert a filter to catch a blood clot.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of a heart problem, don’t ignore them. Schedule an appointment with our specialists today and find out if an angiogram can shed some light on your condition and help you avoid a serious cardiac event. Contact us using our online booking tool or by calling our friendly staff today. 

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