Helping you understand your angiogram/angioplasty

Welcome to Osler’s cardiac procedures unit, or the CPU.  Your cardiologist has referred you the CPU at Osler for an angiogram and/or angioplasty.  We understand that some patients may feel anxious about the procedure they're about to get.  We've put together some information about how to prepare, what will happen when you get to the hospital, and what to expect during your recovery time immediately afterwards.

Preparing for your angioplasty/angiogram

Expect to spend the day with us, and make sure you have someone who can take you home.  If you have a dye or contrast allergy, are on anticoagulants, please make sure that your doctor is aware so that the appropriate pre-treatment is started. 

Make sure to bring:

  • Your Ontario Health Card
  • Secondary insurance info
  • All medications in their original packaging
  • List of all your allergies
  • An overnight bag

During your angiogram/angioplasty

Upon arrival you will meet one of our receptionists who will check you in for your procedure. Your Primary nurse will go through an admission process with you.  You will be asked questions regarding your health and your medications and any surgeries you may have had in the past.  They may draw some blood work if it wasn’t done before admission, and do an ECG.  This is all part of our normal process.  The nurses will then insert an intravenous so that you can receive medications during the procedure and prep the area for your procedure. 

We will give you some light sedation for this procedure that is meant to relax you.  This is not a procedure where you will be sleeping.  It’s not a difficult procedure and at times we need to speak with you during the procedure.

The procedure typically lasts anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour, sometimes longer depending on what we need to do as every heart is different.  Don’t be alarmed if it takes longer, this is just how it goes sometimes.

After you have returned to the prep/recovery area, we will ask your family to come in so that the physician can come and explain the results to you and your loved ones and you can ask questions at that time.

After the angiogram/angioplasty

The remainder of your stay will depend on what procedure you had done.  If it was an angiogram you will be discharged 3-6 hours after your procedure.  If you had a stent placed you will be required to stay with us for at least 6 hours and possibly overnight for monitoring.  Your family will be told when you will be going home and can plan accordingly.

While you are recovering, the staff will monitor the puncture site.  Together with you and your family, we will go over what to expect in the next 24 hrs. and any instructions or restrictions.

The last thirty minutes before you leave we will get you to walk around to make sure you are feeling ok before you get dressed.  The last step will be taking out your intravenous and doing a final check of blood pressure, heart rate, and respirations..  We will confirm that you understand your instructions and make sure you have someone to take you home and someone who will be able to stay with you overnight.

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