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What It's For ?

Coronary Heart Disease is caused by a thickening of the inside walls of the coronary arteries. This thickening, called Atherosclerosis, narrows the space through which blood can flow, decreasing and sometimes completely cutting off the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the heart.

Atherosclerosis usually occurs when a person has high levels of cholesterol, a fat-like substance, in the blood. Cholesterol and fat, circulating in the blood, build up on the walls of the arteries. The build up narrows the arteries and can slow or block the flow of blood. When the level of cholesterol in the blood is high, there is a greater chance that it will be deposited onto the artery walls. This process begins in most people during childhood and the teenage years, and worsens as they get older.

If you have CHD symptoms then first it is important to confirm that your symptoms are caused by blockages in your coronary arteries. If there are blockages, it’s important to see just how serious the blockages are. All this can be done with an ANGIOGRAPHY.

An angiography is a procedure that allows doctors to use an X-ray camera outside your body to see how blood circulates within the walls of your heart. This is accomplished with only one small incision, typically at the very top of your leg. Through this incision, a very small tube“ a catheter” is threaded to your heart. When the tube is exactly in place, at the openings to each of the coronary arteries, radio-opaque dye is released. The X-ray camera outside of your body will show exactly where the dye reaches, and where it doesn’t. If the dye doesn’t make it to part of the heart wall, it indicates that there’s a blockage in the vessel feeding that portion of the heart wall muscle.

How it’s Done ?

The procedure begins with a very small incision, where your leg joins your torso. Through this small cut a hollow tube, called a catheter, is threaded into your artery system. Soon the catheter is at the heart. Although blood is constantly circulating through the heart; the heart itself is nourished just by the blood that makes it through the three coronary arteries. The doctor shall carefully guide the catheter until it is exactly at the entrance to the first of the coronary arteries. At the right moment the radio-opaque dye is released through the tube. Through this careful timing, and by placing the catheter in exactly the right place, the dye will be pulled into the coronary artery, and not simply flushed through the heart. On the monitor, the delicate vessels that feed the heart wall will stand out, much like a river with many small streams leading from it. Partial blockages will show as unusually narrow sections of the river; complete blockages will look like dams, with X-ray dye unable to pass.

Since there are three different coronary arteries the doctor will repeat the procedure as necessary. He might ask for your help, for example by asking you to cough, to help flush the heart. While the catheter is in place, other tests may be run as well. Common tests include measuring how much blood your heart pumps in a beat, and how well your heart valves work.

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Correcting Blockages

Your angiography is a procedure to help identify the problem – it is not a treatment. Sometimes your treatment will be as simple as feeding special medications through the tube, while it’s in place. Other times the treatment is what’s called an ANGIOPLASTY. During an angioplasty a very small uninflated balloon is fed through the tube. The balloon is positioned where the blockage is, then inflated. When the balloon is inflated, it pushes the build-up in your vessel back against the walls, widening the vessel once again. Sometimes the balloon is used to push miniature wire scaffolds, called stents, into place against the walls of the vessel, to help keep it open.

Technology & Expertise at Caremax Hospital

Caremax Hospital is the most advanced lab of its kind in the region. We perform many procedures that are not available at other hospitals. We were also the first in the region to perform procedures such as angioplasty and placing coronary stents.

Our doctors are all fellowship trained, the highest level of training available. Many of our surgeons perform a high volume of procedures. A high volume is considered one of the best predictors of an excellent outcome.

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