Coronary Angiography and Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI)
Coronary angiography is a test to determine if a patient has important narrowings of coronary arteries. Detailed information can be found on the Intra website (link). This website tells of preparation and recovery. The coronary arteries are tubes a few millimetres in diameter that lie on the surface of the heart taking blood to the heart muscle like petrol to a motor. Narrowings may cause angina or heart attacks and if significant may need treatment by stenting or bypass surgery. If the test does not show significant narrowings, this is very reassuring.
The test is performed by passing a narrow tube from the wrist or less commonly from the groin under local anesthesia and sedation in order to inject contrast (or dye) into the coronary arteries. The X-ray machine moves around the patient recording images of the coronary artery. If a significant narrowing is found, it may need unblocking by a stent which is a mesh tube expanded at the narrowing by a balloon. Most patients are discharged on the same day as the procedure.
The procedure is carried out at the Intra facility at the Mercy Hospital in Mountain Road in Epsom or at the North Harbour facility in the Southern Cross Hospital in Wairau Road.
Insurance company reimbursement varies between insurance providers but Intra staff (09 6301 961) can help you with this information.
The patient receives an explanation of findings immediately after the procedure. Usually the referring cardiologist and family doctor will have a report within 24 hours but certainly within a few days.