This is a procedure by which a contrast material is injected directly into the blood vessel (coronary arteries) and is seen by a specialized X-ray machine which takes picture in real time motion. A small tube is inserted through the groin (femoral artery) or through the hand (radial or ulnar artery) which goes up to the origin of coronary arteries and then the contrast material is injected directly into these arteries.
It is a relatively painless procedure which takes 15-20 minutes to complete and the patient can go home in one hour if done through the hand or in 4-5 hours if done through the groin. With the availability of newer generation contrast agents the chance of developing any serious complication is almost negligible (less than 0.001%). Angiography can tell us how many coronary arteries are blocked and outline the site and degree of block, which helps in planning the further course of treatment like medical management if blockages are less than 50% or angioplasty or bypass surgery if block is more than 50-70%.