Before the angiogram, the cardiologist will talk with you about what treatment options are available if a blockage is found during the angiogram.
If Your Test Shows Blockages
If the angiogram shows serious blockages, the interventional cardiologist may immediately perform a coronary intervention procedure, such as balloon angioplasty and stenting, to open them and restore blood flow to your heart. Or he or she may refer you for bypass surgery, a surgical method for restoring blood flow.
If your angiogram shows plaque build-up but it is not serious, your doctor will review the pictures and study your condition in more detail before recommending a plan of action.
Care in the Hospital
When the procedure is complete, the catheter is removed. To stop any bleeding, a nurse applies pressure to the point on your leg or arm at which the catheter was inserted and holds it for about 20 minutes.
After the wound is dressed, a weight (often a sandbag weighing about 10 pounds) may be placed on the wound to prevent bleeding. If the catheter was inserted in your leg, you will be asked to lie still and avoid bending your leg or lifting your head. You may need to be still for two to six hours after the catheter is removed.
Instead of using a weight to help the puncture wound stop bleeding and begin to heal properly, some physicians insert a small device at the site. The device contains materials that encourage a clot to form.
Care at Home
After you return to your home, you may notice a bruise in the area where the doctor inserted the catheter. It is caused by blood that has escaped from the vessel under the skin. A small - and sometimes larger - bruise is normal. It is not necessary to report bruising to your doctor, even if the area is large. Usually, it clears up over a period of one to three weeks.
You should call the doctor if you have:
- Bleeding, drainage or painful swelling at the site where the catheter was inserted.
- Swelling or weakness and/or numbness in the leg or arm in which the catheter was inserted.