A heart angiogram, or coronary angiogram, lasts between 30 and 60 minutes, states MedlinePlus. During a coronary angiogram, the physician inserts a catheter into a coronary artery and injects a type of dye called contrast material into the catheter. The physician then takes X-ray images of the heart. The contrast material is visible through an X-ray machine and aids in highlighting blockages in the coronary blood vessels.
Physicians perform coronary angiograms to reveal the number of coronary arteries blocked as well as the severity and location of the blockages, explains MedlinePlus. Individuals who experience angina, atypical chest pain and aortic stenosis commonly undergo the procedure. Physicians may also recommend it to those who have suffered from heart failure or a recent heart attack or who have abnormal results on a cardiac stress test. A coronary angiogram may also be appropriate for individuals who are at an increased risk for coronary heart diseases and are about to undergo heart surgery.
Individuals should avoid eating and drinking eight hours before the procedure, notes MedlinePlus. They should inform their doctors about any allergies to seafood or the contrast material. Those who take Viagra or suspect that they are pregnant should likewise advise their doctors.