An angiogram is a diagnostic procedure to detect conditions affecting the heart and blood vessels. An angioplasty is a curative procedure to treat conditions relating to arterial plaque buildup.
An angiogram is a minimally invasive procedure that can diagnose various conditions affecting the arteries and blood vessels.
An angioplasty is a procedure that can clear the arteries that may have become narrow due to a buildup of excess plaque.
This article will discuss the main differences between an angiogram and an angioplasty and what to expect from both procedures. It will also explain their benefits, risks, and potential side effects.
The procedure involves injecting a special type of dye, known as a contrast agent, into the blood vessels and taking imaging scans.
An angiogram is usually the diagnostic procedure that precedes an angioplasty if a doctor determines an angioplasty to be appropriate.
There are several types of angiogram, including:
- a coronary angiogram, which looks at the heart and surrounding blood vessels
- a pulmonary angiogram, which looks at the blood vessels that supply the lungs
- a cerebral angiogram, which looks at the blood vessels inside and surrounding the brain
- a renal angiogram, which looks at the blood vessels that supply the kidneys
An angioplasty is a noninvasive procedure that can unblock or widen arteries that may have a buildup of excess plaque.
A doctor may use two types of angioplasty to treat conditions concerning the arteries.
A percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) involves using a small balloon to open or unblock the affected artery. A doctor will then place a small, mesh metal tube known as a stent into the artery to keep the blood flowing.
A balloon angioplasty also involves using a small balloon to open the artery. However, a doctor will not insert a stent.
A doctor may use an angiogram to investigate several health conditions, such as:
- Atherosclerosis: This refers to a buildup of plaque that
can lead tothe following:
- Angina: Angina is chest pain due to a restriction of blood flow to the heart. It
- Blood clots: A blood clot can lead to a stroke or heart attack. Clot symptoms
- Peripheral arterial disease (PAD): PAD occurs when a narrowing of the arteries affects the lower limbs. It
can causethe following:
- Coronary artery disease (CAD): CAD occurs due to plaque buildup in the arteries that supply blood to the heart. People with this condition
- chest pain
- shortness of breath
It generally involves the following steps:
- The doctor makes a small incision in the groin or wrist.
- They insert a thin, flexible tube known as a catheter into the artery.
- They guide the catheter into the area that requires examination.
- They inject a contrast agent into the artery.
- They take several imaging scans.
A person can typically recover from an angiogram right away. However, depending on the access site, they may have some restrictions following the procedure.
A person may feel tender and sore for a few days and want to avoid strenuous activity or heavy lifting for up to a week.
Following an angiogram, a doctor may decide that a person requires an angioplasty. The procedure may take between 30 minutes and two hours.
To perform an angioplasty, a surgeon will
- They introduce a guidewire through the catheter put in place during the angiogram.
- They move the guidewire to the location of the blockage or narrowing in the artery.
- They introduce the balloon over the narrowing, inflating and deflating it until the blockage clears and the artery opens.
- If they are using a stent, they will put it in place, inflating the balloon to secure it into position.
A doctor may prescribe medications to prevent complications, such as anticoagulant medications to prevent blood clots.
A person can typically return to work and resume physical activity within a few days to a week.
Several possible side effects can occur after an angiogram or an angioplasty.
Mild to more serious side effects of an angiogram
- a small lump near the site of the incision
- an infection at the incision site
- a mild or serious allergic reaction to the contrast agent or dye
- kidney failure
- excessive bleeding
Mild to more serious side effects of an angioplasty can include:
- bleeding under the skin
- damage to an artery
- excessive bleeding
- blood clots
An angiogram is a minimally invasive procedure that a surgeon may use to diagnose various conditions that affect the arteries and blood vessels. To perform one, a doctor typically inserts a catheter, injects a special dye, and takes imaging scans. If they determine the person needs further treatment, the person may undergo an angioplasty.
An angioplasty is a procedure that can open and clear arteries that have become narrow due to a buildup of excess plaque. To perform an angioplasty, a surgeon typically inserts a small balloon through the catheter to inflate and clear the artery. They may then insert a stent to keep the artery open.
Recovery from both procedures typically takes a few days to a week. People may experience several minor side effects, such as bruising and tenderness.