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How they're performed

Cardiac catheterisation and coronary angiography is carried out at a hospital or specialist heart centre.

The team responsible for your care may include:

The procedure is usually carried out in an X-ray room or a catheterisation laboratory.

Before the procedure

Before the procedure is carried out, you should tell your cardiologist if:

You'll be told whether to continue taking your medication or if you need to stop.

You shouldn't stop taking prescribed medication unless you're advised to do so.

You may also be asked not to eat or drink anything for a few hours before the procedure.

Anaesthetic

The procedure is usually carried out under local anaesthetic, so you'll be awake while the procedure is carried out, but the area where the catheter is inserted (either the groin or arm) will be numbed.

You may also be given the option of having a sedative. This makes you feel sleepy and relaxed while remaining awake and being aware enough to respond to instructions, such as being asked to take a deep breath and hold it at certain points during the procedure.

General anaesthetic is sometimes used when young children need to have the procedure. This is because they may find it too difficult to stay still while it's being carried out.

Monitoring your heart

You'll be attached to an electrocardiogram (ECG) machine throughout the procedure. An ECG records your heart's rhythms and electrical activity.

A number of electrodes (small metallic discs) are placed on your arms, legs and chest. The electrodes are connected to a machine that records the electrical signals of each heartbeat.

The procedure

Picture of coronary angiography procedure

If you don't need any further procedures, such as balloon angioplasty, cardiac catheterisation and coronary angiography should take about half an hour.

Here's a step-by-step guide to what you can expect during the procedure.

The healthcare professionals who are with you will explain what's happening.