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Who Needs Coronary Angiography?

Your doctor may recommend coronary angiography if you have signs or symptoms of coronary heart disease (CHD). Signs and symptoms include:

  • Angina. This is unexplained pain or pressure in your chest. You also may feel it in your shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, or back. The pain my even feel like indigestion. Angina may not only happen when you're active. Emotional stress also can trigger the pain associated with angina.
  • Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). This is a condition in which your heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating.
  • Abnormal results from tests such as an EKG (electrocardiogram), exercise stress test, or other test.

Coronary angiography also might be done on an emergency basis, such as during a heart attack. If angiography shows blockages in your coronary arteries, your doctor may do a procedure called percutaneous (per-ku-TA-ne-us) coronary intervention, also known as angioplasty (AN-jee-oh-plas-tee). This procedure can open blocked heart arteries and prevent further heart damage.

Coronary angiography also can help your doctor plan treatment after you’ve had a heart attack, especially if you have major heart damage or if you’re still having chest pain.

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Last Updated: March 2, 2012