British Heart Foundation
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Hi all

I had a heart attack late December . No warning no symptoms but a strong family history of heart problems. I had an angiogram and one stent fitted however the consultant told me that the other arteries were severely diseased so I’m on medication until such time I’ll need surgery. I’ve gone through a roller coaster of emotions over the last few weeks other than that I feel well. Now my point is if they can see severe heart disease using an angiogram. Why is this never offered prior to getting a heart attack ? Given my family history if I’d known about angiograms I would have happily paid for one years ago !

7 Replies

In answer to your question I know of people,myself included, who have had angiogram before a heart attack. I suppose it comes down to risk evaluation if you’ve never suffered any symptoms then your doctors might not be aware of your familiar history. I had mine following another procedure when I had ST depression and they suspected MI but it wasn’t my arteries are clear. Other people I know have had them when suffering angina type pains and symptoms even though they didn’t end up with a stent at this stage. I’m sorry you’ve suffered this ill health and glad you have survived and are now getting the treatment you need. It’s a shock when things aren’t right with your heart but unless it helps to change something now (like other family members getting tested) I don’t look back only forward. An angiogram is still an invasive procedure with its own risks so I guess they need to have a suspicion or risk basis for conducting them.

Wishing you well with your recovery.



Thanks Jo I have 3 grown up boys and at least now they are aware !


There is a blood test called Lp(a) that shows up hereditary CVD. However, tit seems nearly impossible to get on the NHS. Your sons can but ask their GP as they have good reason. The male side of my family also have an awful history.

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Apart from the high cost, an angiogram exposes you to a significant dose of radiation, much higher than a chest xray and does increase the associated risks.

With a family history of heart problems you should be watching cholesterol, diet, weight, exercise levels and stress (v.important) to minimise risk, that's about the best you can do.


Hi, I had an angiogram 6 years ago with no stent required. My family history isn’t good either. I was already on statins and had to keep going back to docs with pains in arms and legs. Eventually sent to consultant who referred me. Found plaque on arteries but not bad enough for a stent so other medication given

It must be very difficult for you but, on a positive note, you have been diagnosed and put on the right track with a stent and medication. More importantly you feel well and that is fantastic! Hopefully a good diet and exercise will keep you from requiring surgery any time soon. It’s a standard joke in my house that I’m killing myself exercising in order to stay alive!! I don’t do that much, honestly!

Good luck with your recovery and best wishes for the future. Live life to the full-you deserve it!


Thanks I will !

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It is offered before a heart attack.

I had my angiogram after suffering with angina which was my warning of blocked arteries and I have since had a bypass.

I suppose until you suffer some effects it is hard to know that an angiogram is needed.


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