Coronarography is the only diagnostic procedure that allows accurate checking of the condition of coronary arteries (the vessels that nourish the heart) and finding an eventual narrowing that can compromise the blood flow of the cardiac muscle causing chest pain of myocardial infarction.

A 24-hour hospitalization is required for this procedure. However is a pain free procedure because it is performed under local anesthesia (mainly in the inguinal area or in the wrist). Before performing this procedure, other exams should be done like a cardiology consult, a cardiac ultrasound, some blood tests and chest X-rays.

The patient will be advised not to consume foods and fluids on the day of the procedure or not to wear glasses, bracelets, and nail polish during the procedure.


If the patient is allergic to the contrast substance, for 3 days before the procedure he or she will get a treatment based on corticosteroids and antihistamines (called “desensitivization”).

The procedure is performed in the angiography laboratory, in a sterile environment provided special equipment (angiographer) that uses X-rays. The patient is lying on the special bed and covered with a sterile field, which leaves uncovered just the right (or left) inguinal area or wrist (or radial area), where the local anesthesia is applied. Thereafter a cannula is introduced in the femoral or radial artery, into which the catheters are introduced and a substance injected, in order to evidence the coronaries. At the end of the examination, the catheter is removed and a tight bandage is applied onto the area. The patient will have a 24-hour bed rest without moving the leg.

Before the coronarography procedure is performed, the patient is informed on the risks involve in it, and even though is a minimally invasive procedure and has a low incidence of complications, the patient is asked to sign a consent for such examination. The complications are related to the patient’s general health condition, advanced age, the severity of the coronary disease and the possible presence of co-morbidities. The most frequent complications that may appear are hematoma, hemorrhage, or occurrence of pseudo-aneurysm in the punction area. Other rare complications are related to the allergic reaction to the contrast substance used during the examination.

If the coronarography diagnostic indicates a coronary disease, there are 3 types of treatment:

  • Medical treatment

  • Coronary angioplasty

  • Surgical intervention for coronary bypass