Angiograms, angioplasties and stenting are considered the gold standard for diagnosing and treating blockages in your arterial system.   An angiogram is a test that uses X-rays and dye to help your doctor diagnose a narrowing or blockages caused by the build-up of plaque. The procedure provides vital information that helps Dr Lupe Taumopeau or Mr. JK (Kes) Wicks plan out the best treatment(s) for you.    The aim of angioplasty is to re-establish blood circulation and a sufficient supply of oxygen to areas of your body which are effected with the use of balloons and stents. Specialist Vein Health’s two vascular surgeons are highly trained specialist in performing non-invasive keyhole procedures (this is endovascular surgical treatment) like –Angiograms and or Angioplasties.

What exactly is an Angioplasty and stenting?

  • This is a treatment that uses balloons and stents to improve blood flow through blocked or narrowed arteries.
  • The tiny balloon opens the inside of your narrowed artery to push back plaque and restore blood flow
  • A stent (mounted onto the balloon) is a small, metal mesh tube that expands inside the artery. 
  • A stent is often placed during or immediately after angioplasty

Why might I need to have an Angiogram and or Angioplasty?

What happens before the procedure?

  • Tests before the procedure
    • blood tests
    • Vascular Ultrasound – this is a non-invasive & painless test done in our Specialist Vein Health ultrasound lab.
  • You will be admitted to Wakefield Hospital (in Wellington) the morning of your procedure. This is where our two vascular surgeons do angiograms and angioplasties. The procedure is done in Wakefield hospital’s hybrid theatre.  This is a combined operating theatre and interventional radiology suite used mostly for treating vascular and cardiac disease.
  • Wakefield hospital will advise when you must be nil by mouth (no eating or drinking) from.
  • You may be advised by your surgeon about stopping daily medications.

What happens during the procedure?

  • You may be offered sedation
  • Local anaesthetic is injected around the puncture site where the surgeon will access your artery.
  • During the procedure X-rays are taken during the injection of what is called a contrast agent (iodine dye).
  • Blockages or narrowing of your artery may be cleared during the procedure.  Your surgeon will make decisions about which stent product to use and how many will be inserted. 
  • This procedure has minimal pain associated with it.

How long does the procedure take?

  • An Angiogram or Angioplasty can take from 30 minutes to 3 hours depending on the difficulty.

What can I expect after the procedure?

  • An angiogram is considered a day procedure. Patients usually go home the same day.
  • Angioplasty – your surgeon will decide whether this will be a day or overnight stay in hospital
  • After the procedure, expect 4 hours of bed rest to avoid bleeding at the artery access site.
  • You will not be able to drive yourself home. Please organize alternative transport home.
  • At home, you should avoid heavy lifting, stooping, bending or strenuous exercise for 2 days to allow the arterial puncture site to heal fully. Your surgeon and the hospital will give you more specific instructions on discharge.
  •  Tests: an ultrasound will be organised for you within 2 weeks of your procedure by the staff at Specialist Vein Health.
  • Our staff will organise follow up with your surgeon 2-4 weeks following the procedure.

Are there potential risks with angiogram or angioplasty?

  • All endovascular procedure can have complications – the benefits to your health out way the low risks. 
  • The most common complications are related to the arterial access site – such as bruising. 
  • your surgeon will discuss all potential risks with you prior to the procedure. 

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