A bit nervous about angiogram - British Heart Fou...

British Heart Foundation
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A bit nervous about angiogram


Hello everyone. I'm new to this site but have already found it very helpful and encouraging. I had a frightening brush with the grim reaper six months ago when I suddenly developed heart failure and other organs started failing as well. The intensive care people had written me off - relatives gathered etc but to everyone's amazement I pulled through and I've been feeling pretty well in recent months. Now they reckon I'm fit enough to try to find out what caused it all and I've an angiogram in a couple of weeks which I'm a bit freaked out by the sound of. Very much appreciate hearing others' experience of this and any tips etc

23 Replies
MichaelJHHeart Star

Hello and welcome to the forum! An angiogram is a fairly easy procedure to go through and is described here:-.


If you are very nervous you will be offered/can request a sedative. I did not have one as the one I had some years previously just made me feel slightly drunk and left me with a headache.

in reply to MichaelJH

I wasn't given any choice. I was sedated but fully aware and talking.

in reply to MichaelJH

I would suggest having the sedative too; you're still conscious. I reckon it was the right choice for me.

Hi aoki, I had an angiogram to investigate my heart failure. I was in the hospital for a day and they used the artery in my groin. I just tried to relax and put myself totally in the hands of all the very experienced medical staff around me. I was nervous about it but once the catheter was in I didn't feel anything and it didn't take too long. I didn't have any treatment during the procedure though. Afterwards they applied heavy pressure on my groin and we were all kept lying down for a few hours. My advice would be to go to the loo before the procedure (but if you're a fellow it might be easier to solve that one afterward!) and expect to be sore for a few days after. I didn't bruise too much. It's a very common procedure so please don't worry too much, I hope it will help find out the cause of your illness! Good luck!

Honestly the worst bit is lying still afterwards, take a good book 🙂 I found the actual procedure very interesting. I did get a haematoma but they sorted it quickily.

A lot will depend on what entry method they use - through the groin or the wrist. In my view wrist is best as you then have freedom of movement afterwards. If you are up for it then you may be able to watch the process and it can be fascinating - just ask. You will hardly feel anything and staff should offer reassurance and ask if you are OK. Yes, you may feel a little flushed when they insert any dye but that only lasts a couple of seconds. If anything appears urgent then they can take the appropriate action to fit any necessary stents.

Make sure you have a good book to read as it can be a long day depending on what time you go down.

in reply to shopman

Yes, if you have a choice, choose the wrist

Just had angiogram two weeks ago.....it is amazingly routine and non painful......I was worried about it too but was amazed by how simple and how efficient the team that carried it out where......in easy terms... frightening sounding but a walk in the park.....a bit sore after with some bruising almost non

painful when

it is done and it gives the cardiac team a real good view of what's going on .....it is scary but sounds worse than it is......mines was carried out in Golden Juibilee hospital west of Scotland ........great team ....good luck.


Hi Aoki, I had emercency angiogram and stent after HA, was very easy and i watched it all on the big screen, fascinating. As others have said the worst part was the incision, in my case on my wrist and the inflatable cuff they put on it post op. I hated that,but was only on for a day or so. No scars and all done whilst awake. Just relax and go with the flow. Godd luck


Hi Aoki. After all you've been through, an angiogram is nothing to worry about.

Mine went through the wrist but as I'd been on blood thinners (Clopidogrel) following a diagnosis of angina weeks before, pressure had to be put on the wrist for an hour or so to stop the bleeding!!

I didn't find it painful at all but there was a little bit of bruising for a month or so after. Glad I had this procedure as there were serious problems with the ticker. I'm going in for a triple bypass tomorrow!!! All the very best and really - don't worry.

in reply to Handel

Best wishes to you.

Don't worry, I had one after my heart attack and it didn't hurt at all. The Radiologist will chose your arm or leg, I had mine using the arm and it was fine.

I am the biggest coward going but after a cardiac episode - I had an angiogram. I honestly can say deep breathe, close your eyes and it's over in a jiffy. It is a warm sensation of something moving up your arm (if you have it in your wrist), it doesn't hurt and it's a brilliant way of knowing exactly what's going on with your heart. Ironically, the surgeon turned to me and told me "you have pristine arteries" and grinned. The suggestion was that I was a malingerer. Thank God for the nurse in charge of the ward as he told me, in no uncertain terms, never to ignore chest pain. Well, he was right and three months later I was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy. Pristine arteries but a broken heart! Good luck. It WILL BE FINE!

After what you've been through it's nothing to worry about. You can watch what's happening on screen and you may find it interesting.. It's painless and quite a simple procedure , so don't worry.

Good luck.

As others have said the procedure is pretty straightforward, particularly if the entry point is the wrist. The team will have done the procedure countless times before, so they know what they are doing. If the entry is via the wrist they will fit a pressurised plastic band type device round your wrist to stop any bleeding and the ward nurses will reduce the pressure over the course of the next few hours. I recommend going to the toilet just before the procedure, so you don't have to worry about that aspect.

What's harder to control is worrying about what they will find. I imagined all sorts of horrors. A relative said to me recently that if you're going to be ill then something to do with the heart is better than say cancer. This is because cardiologists can do brilliant things these days, as this forum shows. I wish you well and let us know how you get on!

Join the club. I had a heart attack in August; angiogram and two stents. I have to go before 8 am Friday this week for another one. It is nothing to worry about. I personally had pain from wrist to elbow when they put the tube in but I always get pain like that from blood tests. I also ended up with a massive bruise in the same place but I felt absolutely nothing else. They do sedate you so you keep very still on a very narrow table but I was talking to them all the time even with the sedation. I knew what was going on and I could have watched on the monitors if I'd asked. A couple of hours in recovery and a pressure bandage on your wrist that they slowly deflate until they can take it off. Then 4 weeks with no driving, no hoovering or lifting to allow any stents to bed in. If they don't stent, it's just no driving for a week. You don't even need to tell DVLA.

in reply to Qualipop

OH also they inject a dye and that can make you feel a warm feeling as if you have wet yourself- you haven't- don't worry.

I have had 3 angiograms. My advice would be to WEAR WARM SOCKS. It doesn't hurt but you do get cold! And I hope you have better luck with the music the medical staff choose to listen to you while they get on with the procedure. My last angiogram was accompanied by really poor ballad crap.

If they give you a choice of wrist or groin, go for wrist but they will usually make the decision.

Hi Aoki, had two angiograms, first one as a last resort as all other tests had been negative and there was a suggestion that “it was all in my head”! The procedure was quite straightforward via my wrist and arm. They immediately told me that I had three severely blocked arteries which frankly was something of a relief as I knew something was wrong. Subsequently I had a double bypass with one artery so bad it couldn’t be grafted onto. The second angiogram was done as I still had pain after the bypass but everything was found to be in order, the problem being put down to the inoperable artery . This has improved with time. The second angiogram was actually better with no discomfort at all and without the arm bruising which developed and lasted a couple of weeks after the first one. There really is nothing to worry about it in the procedure, you will be fine!

An angiogram is painless I had one 9 weeks ago, they carried out an angioplasty at the same time and fitted a stent nothing to be afraid of lasts about 20/30 mins

Very many thanks everybody for your very encouraging and informative replies. The guidance notes I've been sent say the catheter will go in through the groin but I'm hoping it's out of date as wrist sounds much better. I'm busy chosing a book to take in as advised!! Will post as to outcome.

I had an angiogram on 14 December 2018 at Kingston Hospital

The procedure itself was a doddle after all the worry and the sleepless night beforehand

I went in saying "I want my Mummy" and came out on the trolley feeling that I was on cloud lucky seven

It was the effect of the mild sedative presumably benzodiazepine

I was fixated on the warning that there was a 1/1,000 risk of fatality but in the end they could have thrown me out of the window for all I cared-no wonder people get addicted to these medications

The point of entry at the wrist healed in a day or so and I now await the outcome of a Joint Cardiology meeting with a MIDCAB single bypass recommended at St George's Hospital Tooting as the left anterior descending coronary artery was found to be blocked by "severe stenosis"

There were no noticeable after effects to the procedure

The hospital preliminaries were not as impressive as the theatre staff on the day

The assessment a week before had been done by a nurse who seemed a bit bored by the whole thing and didn't seem to like her work or the patients

I think it was the same nurse on the day who avoided eye contact and kept her name badge in her pocket There were 6 in the ward and we had to be there by 7 am There were no seats outside the ward for those who got there in good time

One patient was very garrulous but it was he who organised seats for everyone whilst the nursing staff were seated with their backs to us

I was taken down to the theatre at 12 pm with another patient The nurse set off at speed and kept disappearing in the crowded corridors and round corners We only had hospital gowns dressing gowns and slippers and I felt that we were lucky to meet up with her at the lifts

The staff in the operating theatre were friendly and attentive

I saw by the clock on the wall of the theatre that it was 12.30 when they started and 1 pm when they finished

I can remember the initial injection and was conscious until the sleeve was pulled out but whilst I could hear them talking and realised they were working on me I had no idea of the passage of time

The aftercare was a bit sparse It was only after I told the nurse that the site of the wrist entry was "a bit painful" that she produced paracetamol

I do hope Aoki that your procedure went off ok-it's a bit worrying that you haven't posted a result

I know that this must be too late for you appointment but might be generally helpful

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