Angiograms, a significant advancement in medical imaging, play a crucial role in diagnosing and treating cardiovascular conditions. If you’ve been referred for an angiogram or other heart surgery and procedure in Singapore, you could be really itching to know the main reason for the procedure.
If that’s your main concern, you’re in luck. This blog post explores what an angiogram is and looks into the primary reasons why your doctor may recommend an angiogram in Singapore.
What is an Angiogram, and how is it done?
An angiogram is a diagnostic procedure for getting valuable insights into the health and functionality of your blood vessels. This includes the arteries and veins.
Using X-ray images, this test allows your heart doctor to detect and locate potential blockages within your circulatory system. During an angiogram, a contrast dye is injected into the bloodstream.
This contrast dye is specially formulated to be visible on X-ray images. As the dye spreads throughout the blood vessels, an X-ray machine captures detailed images on a screen. This allows your cardiologist to assess blood flow patterns and detect any potential blockages. Here’s a roundup of what you can expect during an angiogram:
- Preparation: Before your angiogram in Singapore, your heart specialist will provide you specific instructions for preparing for this test. These may include fasting for a certain period and temporarily stopping certain medications.
- Anesthesia: In most cases, local anesthesia is administered to numb the area where the catheter (a thin, flexible tube) will be inserted. This ensures your comfort during the procedure.
- Catheter Insertion: Your cardiologist will make a small incision the designated area. This is usually in the arm or groin. Through this incision, they will insert a catheter into a blood vessel and carefully guide it towards the targeted area for the angiogram.
- Dye Injection: Once the catheter is positioned correctly, the dye is injected into the bloodstream. This allows the dye to travel through the blood vessels and highlight any abnormalities or blockages.
- Imaging Process: X-ray images are captured in real-time as the contrast material moves through the blood vessels. These images are displayed on a screen, providing detailed visual information to the healthcare team.
Throughout the procedure, you will need to communicate any sensations or discomfort you may experience to the specialists. They will be there to address any concerns and ensure your overall safety and well-being.
After the angiogram, the catheter will be carefully removed, and the insertion site either closed with stitches or covered with a small bandage. Depending on the location and complexity of the procedure, you may be required to rest for a short period before being discharged.
Why Do Doctors Suggest Angiograms?
There are varied reasons why your cardiologist may suggest an angiogram in Singapore. Key among these reasons includes;
- Diagnostic Purposes: Angiograms are frequently used in identifying blockages in blood vessels, particularly in the coronary arteries supplying the heart. When not detected on time, these blockages can lead to worrisome conditions like coronary artery disease, angina, or even heart attacks. Angiograms help doctors determine the location and severity of these blockages, guiding treatment decisions and interventions.
- Treatment Planning: Angiograms also play a crucial role in treatment planning. This test allows heart specialists to evaluate the extent of arterial diseases and assess the need for surgical interventions like angioplasty and stenting or coronary artery bypass graft surgery. These procedures help restore blood flow and alleviate symptoms associated with blockages, ultimately improving the patient’s quality of life.
Certain symptoms serve as red flags for potential cardiovascular conditions, prompting doctors to recommend angiograms for accurate diagnosis and treatment planning. Here are some key symptoms that may prompt your heart specialist to recommend an angiogram in Singapore:
- Chest Pain and Related Symptoms: Experiencing chest pain, especially during physical exertion or stress isn’t natural. It may be indicative of a coronary artery disease. Angiograms can help identify blockages in the coronary arteries and determine the best course of treatment. This may include lifestyle modifications, medications, or surgical interventions.
- Shortness of Breath and Fatigue: Shortness of breath and fatigue that persists even during mild physical activities, could point out to an underlying heart or lung condition. An angiogram can help your cardiologist to evaluate blood flow abnormalities in the heart or lungs, and aid in the diagnosis and management of these conditions.
- Abnormal Heart Rhythm and Palpitations: Unusual heart rhythms or palpitations may be indicative of arrhythmias or heart valve abnormalities. Through an angiogram, your heart doctor can assess your heart’s blood vessels, and identify potential causes and develop an appropriate treatment plan.
Can Angiogram Cure Blockage?
One of the most common questions when it comes to procedures like angiograms is if they can cue blockages. Now, it is important to note that the angiogram is not designed to cure blockages directly.
Instead, it is designed to be used as a diagnostic tool for getting valuable information about the location, severity, and extent of blockages. Based on these findings, your heart specialist can recommend suitable treatment options to either manage or alleviate symptoms associated with blockages or both. Treatment options for blockages may include:
- Medications: Depending on the severity of the blockages, doctors may prescribe medications to reduce cholesterol levels, control blood pressure, or prevent blood clot formation. Medications can help manage blockages and improve blood flow, complementing other treatment approaches.
- Angioplasty and Stenting: Angioplasty is a minimally invasive procedure performed during an angiogram. It involves inflating a small balloon in the narrowed or blocked blood vessel to widen it and restore blood flow. In some cases, doctors may also insert a tiny metal scaffold stent to keep the blood vessel open, reducing the chances of re-narrowing.
- Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery: There are extreme cases where multiple blockages or complex coronary artery disease are detected during an angiogram. In such cases, coronary artery bypass graft surgery may be recommended. This procedure involves the use of blood vessels from other parts of the body to bypass the blocked arteries, and allow for blood to flow freely to the heart muscle.
Angiograms are essential diagnostic procedures that help in the diagnosis and treatment of various cardiovascular conditions. Whether it’s identifying blockages, planning treatment interventions, or evaluating symptoms, angiograms provide crucial insights into blood vessel health. If you experience symptoms indicative of cardiovascular issues, consult with your healthcare provider, who can determine if an angiogram is necessary and help chart a path toward better heart health.
At Sunrise Heart Clinic, we are dedicated to your cardiovascular health and well-being. Schedule your angiogram consultation today and take a step towards a healthier heart. Don’t wait, let our experienced specialists provide the care you deserve.
Contact us now to book your appointment and embark on your journey toward a healthier heart. Call or visit us at:
Sunrise Heart Clinic – Heart Check Up | Treadmill ECG Test | Echocardiogram
365 Sembawang Cres,