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Heart Disease: Should I Have an Angiogram?

Heart Disease: Should I Have an Angiogram?

You may want to have a say in this decision, or you may simply want to follow your doctor's recommendation. Either way, this information will help you understand what your choices are so that you can talk to your doctor about them.

Heart Disease: Should I Have an Angiogram?

Get the facts

Your options

  • Have an angiogram to find out if you need treatment for coronary artery disease.
  • Don't have an angiogram.

Key points to remember

  • An angiogram can show how serious your coronary artery disease is and how best to treat it. It shows if your coronary arteries are clogged, where they are clogged, and by how much. The test can help your doctor see if you need treatment such as medicines, angioplasty , or coronary artery bypass surgery .
  • Your doctor may recommend that you have an angiogram if:
    • The results of a cardiac stress test suggest that you have severe heart disease.
    • You are having angina symptoms, such as chest pain or pressure, while you are at rest or during only moderate physical activity. Or you are taking medicines for angina, but they do not control it.
    • You have another heart problem, such as heart failure, that may be caused by heart disease.
  • If during the test the doctor sees that your arteries are badly blocked, you may need to have an angioplasty or bypass surgery right away. So before you have the test, it's a good idea to talk with your doctor about these treatments. Ask what the test might show and what your choices are in each case.
  • You may not need an angiogram if you can control your angina symptoms with medicines and are otherwise healthy.
  • You may not want an angiogram if you already know that you don't want to have angioplasty or bypass surgery.
FAQs

What is a coronary angiogram?

A coronary angiogram is an X-ray test that takes pictures of the blood flow through your coronary arteries . It helps your doctor see if your arteries are clogged, where they are clogged, and by how much. An angiogram helps you and your doctor decide what treatment is best for your coronary artery disease. Treatments include medicines, angioplasty, and coronary artery bypass surgery.

During an angiogram, a thin tube called a catheter is placed in an artery of your arm or leg and gently threaded up into your heart. A special dye goes through the catheter. The dye helps the arteries show up on the X-ray. The doctor checks the X-rays to see if your coronary arteries are clogged or blocked.

What is coronary artery disease?

Coronary artery disease occurs when fatty deposits called plaque (say "plak") build up inside the coronary arteries. The coronary arteries wrap around the heart and supply it with blood and oxygen. When plaque builds up, it narrows the arteries and limits how much blood can get to your heart.

Coronary artery disease can occur slowly over time without your knowing it. You may not have any symptoms until the arteries are very narrow. Symptoms include angina, such as chest pain or pressure, and shortness of breath.

Without treatment, coronary artery disease can lead to serious problems, such as a heart attack or a stroke.

How might the test affect your treatment for heart disease?

Your doctor is likely to suggest that you adopt healthy habits such as quitting smoking, eating a heart-healthy diet, and getting regular exercise. By doing these things, you can slow the spread of the disease and improve your quality of life.

You may need to take medicines to lower your cholesterol or high blood pressure. Your doctor may prescribe aspirin to reduce your risk of heart attack. And he or she may prescribe other medicines to control angina, if you have it.

If lifestyle changes and medicines don't work well enough to relieve your symptoms and lower your risk for a heart attack, you may need to have angioplasty or bypass surgery.

If during the angiogram the doctor sees that your arteries are badly blocked, you may need angioplasty or bypass surgery right away. You may want to talk with your doctor about these treatments before you have an angiogram. During the test, you will not be able to decide about more treatment, because you will be sleepy from medicines.

What are the risks of an angiogram?

Most people do not have serious problems during or after an angiogram.

Serious problems, such as heart attack and stroke, are rare but can be life-threatening. They are more likely to occur in some people, such as people who are critically ill or elderly.

Less serious problems may include:

  • A tear or sudden closure in an artery.
  • Allergic reaction to the dye used to see the coronary arteries.
  • Kidney damage related to the dye.
  • Bleeding or bruising where the catheter was inserted.

Radiation risk. There is always a slight risk of damage to cells or tissues from being exposed to any radiation, including the low levels of X-ray used for this test. But the risk of damage from the X-rays is usually very low compared with the potential benefits of the test.

What do numbers tell us about benefits and risks of an angiogram?

Examples of angiogram risks*
Serious problems related to the procedure Number of people who may have the problem
Heart attack 1 out of 1,000
Stroke 1 out of 1,000
Heavy bleeding 10 to 40 out of 1,000
Death 1 to 2 out of 1,000

*Based on the best available evidence (evidence quality: borderline )

Benefits

The benefits of an angiogram aren't the kinds of things that can be directly measured by numbers. The main reason to consider having the test is that it can help you and your doctor make better decisions about whether and how to treat your heart disease. In some cases, those treatment decisions can be life-saving.

Risks

The quality of evidence about risks is borderline .

Take a group of 1,000 people who have an angiogram . They are at risk for several rare but serious risks, including:

  • Heart attack: 1 person out of 1,000 may have a heart attack related to the procedure. This means that 999 probably won't.
  • Stroke:1 person out of 1,000 may have a stroke related to the procedure. This means that 999 probably won't.
  • Serious bleeding at the site where the tube is placed: 10 to 40 people out of 1,000 may have serious bleeding. This means that 960 to 990 probably won't.
  • Death: 1 to 2 out of 1,000 may die as a result of the procedure. This means that 998 to 999 probably won't.
Understanding the evidence

Some evidence is better than other evidence. Evidence comes from studies that look at how well treatments and tests work and how safe they are. For many reasons, some studies are more reliable than others. The better the evidence is—the higher its quality—the more we can trust it.

The information shown here is based on the best available evidence. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 The evidence is rated using four quality levels: high, moderate, borderline, and inconclusive .

Another thing to understand is that the evidence can't predict what's going to happen in your case. When evidence tells us that 2 out of 100 people who have a certain test or treatment may have a certain result and that 98 out of 100 may not, there's no way to know if you will be one of the 2 or one of the 98.

Why might your doctor recommend having an angiogram?

Your doctor may suggest that you have this test if:

  • A cardiac stress test suggests that you have severe heart disease. This test checks for changes in your heart while you exercise.
  • You have angina symptoms while you are at rest or during only moderate physical activity. Or you are taking medicines for angina but they don't control it.
  • You have another heart problem, such as heart failure, that may be caused by heart disease.

You probably do not need an angiogram if you can control your angina and other symptoms with medicines and lifestyle changes and if you are otherwise healthy.

Compare your options

Compare

What is usually involved?









What are the benefits?









What are the risks and side effects?









Have an angiogram Have an angiogram
  • An angiogram takes about 1 to 3 hours. You will get a shot to numb the site where a catheter is placed in your blood vessel.
  • After the test, you may need to stay in bed for several hours with your arm or leg straight. You may go home the same day or the next day.
  • The test helps you and your doctor decide which treatment will improve your symptoms and lower your risk for a heart attack.
  • An angiogram has some rare but serious risks. They include:
    • Heart attack.
    • Stroke.
    • Allergic reaction to the dye used to see the coronary arteries.
    • Kidney damage related to the dye.
    • Bleeding at the site where the catheter is placed.
    • Death.
Don't have an angiogram Don't have an angiogram
  • Try lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, eating a heart-healthy diet, and getting regular exercise if you are worried about heart disease.
  • You may take medicines to control your cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • Your doctor may suggest that you take medicines to help control angina or aspirin to lower your risk of heart attack.
  • You may be able to manage your symptoms without taking this test.
  • You avoid the cost and risks of an angiogram.
  • Medicines and lifestyle changes may not work. Your heart disease could get worse.
  • If you have severe heart disease and you do nothing, it could lead to a heart attack or a stroke.

Personal stories

Are you interested in what others decided to do? Many people have faced this decision. These personal stories may help you decide.

Personal stories about deciding whether to have an angiogram

These stories are based on information gathered from health professionals and consumers. They may be helpful as you make important health decisions.

My heart medicine just isn't working as well as it used to. Although my angina is stable, I am not feeling as well as I'd like to. I want to have the energy to play with my grandkids and the confidence to take the vacations my wife and I always planned, without the fear of having a heart attack. I've decided to have an angiogram so that my wife, my doctor, and I can make a decision about whether there may be something else that can help me.

Julian, age 68

I asked my doctor what she thought we would find out from an angiogram. She said that based on my other tests, she was pretty sure that I had a blockage in one of my main heart arteries, but that the only way to be sure was to do the angiography. When I asked her what she'd recommend if she found the blockage, she felt either angioplasty or open-heart bypass surgery would be needed. Well, I had watched my sister go through open-heart surgery, and I can tell you that it's not for me. So my doctor and I decided that we would try some different kinds of medicine to keep my angina under control, and see how things went. I can still have the test—and the surgery—if I change my mind, but for now I'm doing just fine as I am.

Reynaldo, age 75

After my father died of a heart attack at 58 and my brother had one at 55, I was worried that I was next. When my chest pain got bad and my doctor recommended an angiogram, I was all for it. I decided I would rather have the test, and then surgery if I need it, to avoid a heart attack if possible.

Mabel, age 60

I was getting chest pain after I walked a few blocks, or even less if it was cold out. I thought it was just my lungs, but when I saw my doctor, he said he thought it was my heart. So I took a treadmill test and based on my results, my doctor thought I probably had some blockage in my heart arteries, but it didn't seem too bad. We decided to try some medicine to see if that helps instead of having that test where they look at the dye in your heart. I have been doing well and almost never get chest pain anymore.

Jean, age 62

What matters most to you?

Your personal feelings are just as important as the medical facts. Think about what matters most to you in this decision, and show how you feel about the following statements.

Reasons to have an angiogram

Reasons not to have an angiogram

My angina is affecting my quality of life.

I'm able to control my angina with medicines.

More important
Equally important
More important

I'm worried that I could have a heart attack if I don't get treatment.

I'm not that worried about having a heart attack.

More important
Equally important
More important

If an artery is badly blocked, I know I may need emergency angioplasty or surgery.

I already know that I don't want angioplasty or bypass surgery.

More important
Equally important
More important

I'll be more motivated to adopt healthy habits and quit smoking if I know how bad my heart disease is.

Finding out that my heart disease is bad won't help me make changes.

More important
Equally important
More important

My other important reasons:

My other important reasons:

More important
Equally important
More important

Where are you leaning now?

Now that you've thought about the facts and your feelings, you may have a general idea of where you stand on this decision. Show which way you are leaning right now.

Having an angiogram

NOT having an angiogram

Leaning toward
Undecided
Leaning toward

What else do you need to make your decision?

Check the facts

1.

An angiogram can help me and my doctor decide which treatment is best for my heart disease.

  • True You're right. An angiogram helps you and your doctor decide whether you need medicines, angioplasty, or coronary artery bypass surgery.
  • False Sorry, that's not right. An angiogram helps you and your doctor decide whether you need medicines, angioplasty, or coronary artery bypass surgery.
  • I'm not sure It may help to go back and read "What is a coronary angiogram?" An angiogram helps you and your doctor decide whether you need medicines, angioplasty, or coronary artery bypass surgery.
2.

I may not need an angiogram if I can control my angina symptoms with medicines and I'm otherwise healthy.

  • True You're right. Some people will do well just by taking medicines to control their symptoms.
  • False Sorry, that's not right. Some people will do well just by taking medicines to control their symptoms.
  • I'm not sure It may help to go back and read "Why might your doctor recommend having an angiogram?" Some people will do well just by taking medicines to control their symptoms.
3.

If I have an angiogram, I don't need to do anything else to treat my heart disease.

  • True Sorry, that's wrong. If the test shows that you have heart disease, you'll need to adopt healthy habits such as quitting smoking, eating a heart-healthy diet, and getting regular exercise. You may also need to take medicines.
  • False You're right. If the test shows that you have heart disease, you will need to adopt healthy habits such as quitting smoking, eating a heart-healthy diet, and getting regular exercise. You may also need to take medicines.
  • I'm not sure It may help to go back and read "How might the test affect your treatment for heart disease?" If the test shows that you have heart disease, you will need to adopt healthy habits and may need to take medicines.

Decide what's next

1.

Do you understand the options available to you?

2.

Are you clear about which benefits and side effects matter most to you?

3.

Do you have enough support and advice from others to make a choice?

Certainty

1.

How sure do you feel right now about your decision?

Not sure at all
Somewhat sure
Very sure
3.

Use the following space to list questions, concerns, and next steps.

Your Summary

Here's a record of your answers. You can use it to talk with your doctor or loved ones about your decision.

Your decision  

Next steps

Which way you're leaning

How sure you are

Your comments

Your knowledge of the facts  

Key concepts that you understood

Key concepts that may need review

Getting ready to act  

Patient choices

Credits and References

Credits
Credits Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Specialist Medical Reviewer Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology

References
Citations
  1. Boden WE, et al. (2007). Optimal medical therapy with or without PCI for stable coronary disease. New England Journal of Medicine, 356(15): 1503–1516.
  2. Anderson JL, et al. (2011). 2011 ACCF/AHA focused update incorporated into the ACC/AHA 2007 guidelines for the management of patients with unstable angina/non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction: A report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. Circulation, 123(18): e426–579.
  3. Greenhalgh J, et al. (2010). Drug-eluting stents versus bare metal stents for angina or acute coronary syndromes. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (5).
  4. Hoenig MR, et al. (2010). Early invasive versus conservative strategies for unstable angina and non-ST elevation myocardial infarction in the stent era. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (3).
  5. Nayak KR, et al. (2009). Anaphylactoid reactions to radiocontrast agents: Prevention and treatment in the cardiac catheterization laboratory. Journal of Invasive Cardiology, 21(10): 548–551.
  6. Muller DW, et al. (1992). Peripheral vascular complications after conventional and complex percutaneous coronary interventional procedures. American Journal of Cardiology, 69(1): 63–68.
  7. Tavris DR, et al. (2004). Risk of local adverse events following cardiac catheterization by hemostasis device use and gender. Journal of Invasive Cardiology, 16(9): 459–464.
  8. Wijeysundera HC, et al. (2010). Meta-analysis: Effects of percutaneous coronary intervention versus medical therapy on angina relief. Annals of Internal Medicine, 152(6): 370–379.
You may want to have a say in this decision, or you may simply want to follow your doctor's recommendation. Either way, this information will help you understand what your choices are so that you can talk to your doctor about them.

Heart Disease: Should I Have an Angiogram?

Here's a record of your answers. You can use it to talk with your doctor or loved ones about your decision.
  1. Get the facts
  2. Compare your options
  3. What matters most to you?
  4. Where are you leaning now?
  5. What else do you need to make your decision?

1. Get the Facts

Your options

  • Have an angiogram to find out if you need treatment for coronary artery disease.
  • Don't have an angiogram.

Key points to remember

  • An angiogram can show how serious your coronary artery disease is and how best to treat it. It shows if your coronary arteries are clogged, where they are clogged, and by how much. The test can help your doctor see if you need treatment such as medicines, angioplasty , or coronary artery bypass surgery .
  • Your doctor may recommend that you have an angiogram if:
    • The results of a cardiac stress test suggest that you have severe heart disease.
    • You are having angina symptoms, such as chest pain or pressure, while you are at rest or during only moderate physical activity. Or you are taking medicines for angina, but they do not control it.
    • You have another heart problem, such as heart failure, that may be caused by heart disease.
  • If during the test the doctor sees that your arteries are badly blocked, you may need to have an angioplasty or bypass surgery right away. So before you have the test, it's a good idea to talk with your doctor about these treatments. Ask what the test might show and what your choices are in each case.
  • You may not need an angiogram if you can control your angina symptoms with medicines and are otherwise healthy.
  • You may not want an angiogram if you already know that you don't want to have angioplasty or bypass surgery.
FAQs

What is a coronary angiogram?

A coronary angiogram is an X-ray test that takes pictures of the blood flow through your coronary arteries . It helps your doctor see if your arteries are clogged, where they are clogged, and by how much. An angiogram helps you and your doctor decide what treatment is best for your coronary artery disease. Treatments include medicines, angioplasty, and coronary artery bypass surgery.

During an angiogram, a thin tube called a catheter is placed in an artery of your arm or leg and gently threaded up into your heart. A special dye goes through the catheter. The dye helps the arteries show up on the X-ray. The doctor checks the X-rays to see if your coronary arteries are clogged or blocked.

What is coronary artery disease?

Coronary artery disease occurs when fatty deposits called plaque (say "plak") build up inside the coronary arteries. The coronary arteries wrap around the heart and supply it with blood and oxygen. When plaque builds up, it narrows the arteries and limits how much blood can get to your heart.

Coronary artery disease can occur slowly over time without your knowing it. You may not have any symptoms until the arteries are very narrow. Symptoms include angina, such as chest pain or pressure, and shortness of breath.

Without treatment, coronary artery disease can lead to serious problems, such as a heart attack or a stroke.

How might the test affect your treatment for heart disease?

Your doctor is likely to suggest that you adopt healthy habits such as quitting smoking, eating a heart-healthy diet, and getting regular exercise. By doing these things, you can slow the spread of the disease and improve your quality of life.

You may need to take medicines to lower your cholesterol or high blood pressure. Your doctor may prescribe aspirin to reduce your risk of heart attack. And he or she may prescribe other medicines to control angina, if you have it.

If lifestyle changes and medicines don't work well enough to relieve your symptoms and lower your risk for a heart attack, you may need to have angioplasty or bypass surgery.

If during the angiogram the doctor sees that your arteries are badly blocked, you may need angioplasty or bypass surgery right away. You may want to talk with your doctor about these treatments before you have an angiogram. During the test, you will not be able to decide about more treatment, because you will be sleepy from medicines.

What are the risks of an angiogram?

Most people do not have serious problems during or after an angiogram.

Serious problems, such as heart attack and stroke, are rare but can be life-threatening. They are more likely to occur in some people, such as people who are critically ill or elderly.

Less serious problems may include:

  • A tear or sudden closure in an artery.
  • Allergic reaction to the dye used to see the coronary arteries.
  • Kidney damage related to the dye.
  • Bleeding or bruising where the catheter was inserted.

Radiation risk. There is always a slight risk of damage to cells or tissues from being exposed to any radiation, including the low levels of X-ray used for this test. But the risk of damage from the X-rays is usually very low compared with the potential benefits of the test.

What do numbers tell us about benefits and risks of an angiogram?

Examples of angiogram risks*
Serious problems related to the procedure Number of people who may have the problem
Heart attack 1 out of 1,000
Stroke 1 out of 1,000
Heavy bleeding 10 to 40 out of 1,000
Death 1 to 2 out of 1,000

*Based on the best available evidence (evidence quality: borderline )

Benefits

The benefits of an angiogram aren't the kinds of things that can be directly measured by numbers. The main reason to consider having the test is that it can help you and your doctor make better decisions about whether and how to treat your heart disease. In some cases, those treatment decisions can be life-saving.

Risks

The quality of evidence about risks is borderline .

Take a group of 1,000 people who have an angiogram . They are at risk for several rare but serious risks, including:

  • Heart attack: 1 person out of 1,000 may have a heart attack related to the procedure. This means that 999 probably won't.
  • Stroke:1 person out of 1,000 may have a stroke related to the procedure. This means that 999 probably won't.
  • Serious bleeding at the site where the tube is placed: 10 to 40 people out of 1,000 may have serious bleeding. This means that 960 to 990 probably won't.
  • Death: 1 to 2 out of 1,000 may die as a result of the procedure. This means that 998 to 999 probably won't.
Understanding the evidence

Some evidence is better than other evidence. Evidence comes from studies that look at how well treatments and tests work and how safe they are. For many reasons, some studies are more reliable than others. The better the evidence is—the higher its quality—the more we can trust it.

The information shown here is based on the best available evidence. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 The evidence is rated using four quality levels: high, moderate, borderline, and inconclusive .

Another thing to understand is that the evidence can't predict what's going to happen in your case. When evidence tells us that 2 out of 100 people who have a certain test or treatment may have a certain result and that 98 out of 100 may not, there's no way to know if you will be one of the 2 or one of the 98.

Why might your doctor recommend having an angiogram?

Your doctor may suggest that you have this test if:

  • A cardiac stress test suggests that you have severe heart disease. This test checks for changes in your heart while you exercise.
  • You have angina symptoms while you are at rest or during only moderate physical activity. Or you are taking medicines for angina but they don't control it.
  • You have another heart problem, such as heart failure, that may be caused by heart disease.

You probably do not need an angiogram if you can control your angina and other symptoms with medicines and lifestyle changes and if you are otherwise healthy.

2. Compare your options

  Have an angiogram Don't have an angiogram
What is usually involved?
  • An angiogram takes about 1 to 3 hours. You will get a shot to numb the site where a catheter is placed in your blood vessel.
  • After the test, you may need to stay in bed for several hours with your arm or leg straight. You may go home the same day or the next day.
  • Try lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, eating a heart-healthy diet, and getting regular exercise if you are worried about heart disease.
  • You may take medicines to control your cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • Your doctor may suggest that you take medicines to help control angina or aspirin to lower your risk of heart attack.
What are the benefits?
  • The test helps you and your doctor decide which treatment will improve your symptoms and lower your risk for a heart attack.
  • You may be able to manage your symptoms without taking this test.
  • You avoid the cost and risks of an angiogram.
What are the risks and side effects?
  • An angiogram has some rare but serious risks. They include:
    • Heart attack.
    • Stroke.
    • Allergic reaction to the dye used to see the coronary arteries.
    • Kidney damage related to the dye.
    • Bleeding at the site where the catheter is placed.
    • Death.
  • Medicines and lifestyle changes may not work. Your heart disease could get worse.
  • If you have severe heart disease and you do nothing, it could lead to a heart attack or a stroke.

Personal stories

Are you interested in what others decided to do? Many people have faced this decision. These personal stories may help you decide.

Personal stories about deciding whether to have an angiogram

These stories are based on information gathered from health professionals and consumers. They may be helpful as you make important health decisions.

"My heart medicine just isn't working as well as it used to. Although my angina is stable, I am not feeling as well as I'd like to. I want to have the energy to play with my grandkids and the confidence to take the vacations my wife and I always planned, without the fear of having a heart attack. I've decided to have an angiogram so that my wife, my doctor, and I can make a decision about whether there may be something else that can help me."

— Julian, age 68

"I asked my doctor what she thought we would find out from an angiogram. She said that based on my other tests, she was pretty sure that I had a blockage in one of my main heart arteries, but that the only way to be sure was to do the angiography. When I asked her what she'd recommend if she found the blockage, she felt either angioplasty or open-heart bypass surgery would be needed. Well, I had watched my sister go through open-heart surgery, and I can tell you that it's not for me. So my doctor and I decided that we would try some different kinds of medicine to keep my angina under control, and see how things went. I can still have the test—and the surgery—if I change my mind, but for now I'm doing just fine as I am."

— Reynaldo, age 75

"After my father died of a heart attack at 58 and my brother had one at 55, I was worried that I was next. When my chest pain got bad and my doctor recommended an angiogram, I was all for it. I decided I would rather have the test, and then surgery if I need it, to avoid a heart attack if possible."

— Mabel, age 60

"I was getting chest pain after I walked a few blocks, or even less if it was cold out. I thought it was just my lungs, but when I saw my doctor, he said he thought it was my heart. So I took a treadmill test and based on my results, my doctor thought I probably had some blockage in my heart arteries, but it didn't seem too bad. We decided to try some medicine to see if that helps instead of having that test where they look at the dye in your heart. I have been doing well and almost never get chest pain anymore."

— Jean, age 62

3. What matters most to you?

Your personal feelings are just as important as the medical facts. Think about what matters most to you in this decision, and show how you feel about the following statements.

Reasons to have an angiogram

Reasons not to have an angiogram

My angina is affecting my quality of life.

I'm able to control my angina with medicines.

             
More important
Equally important
More important

I'm worried that I could have a heart attack if I don't get treatment.

I'm not that worried about having a heart attack.

             
More important
Equally important
More important

If an artery is badly blocked, I know I may need emergency angioplasty or surgery.

I already know that I don't want angioplasty or bypass surgery.

             
More important
Equally important
More important

I'll be more motivated to adopt healthy habits and quit smoking if I know how bad my heart disease is.

Finding out that my heart disease is bad won't help me make changes.

             
More important
Equally important
More important

My other important reasons:

My other important reasons:

   
             
More important
Equally important
More important

4. Where are you leaning now?

Now that you've thought about the facts and your feelings, you may have a general idea of where you stand on this decision. Show which way you are leaning right now.

Having an angiogram

NOT having an angiogram

             
Leaning toward
Undecided
Leaning toward

5. What else do you need to make your decision?

Check the facts

1. An angiogram can help me and my doctor decide which treatment is best for my heart disease.

  • True
  • False
  • I'm not sure
You're right. An angiogram helps you and your doctor decide whether you need medicines, angioplasty, or coronary artery bypass surgery.

2. I may not need an angiogram if I can control my angina symptoms with medicines and I'm otherwise healthy.

  • True
  • False
  • I'm not sure
You're right. Some people will do well just by taking medicines to control their symptoms.

3. If I have an angiogram, I don't need to do anything else to treat my heart disease.

  • True
  • False
  • I'm not sure
You're right. If the test shows that you have heart disease, you will need to adopt healthy habits such as quitting smoking, eating a heart-healthy diet, and getting regular exercise. You may also need to take medicines.

Decide what's next

1. Do you understand the options available to you?

2. Are you clear about which benefits and side effects matter most to you?

3. Do you have enough support and advice from others to make a choice?

Certainty

1. How sure do you feel right now about your decision?

         
Not sure at all
Somewhat sure
Very sure

2. Check what you need to do before you make this decision.

  • I'm ready to take action.
  • I want to discuss the options with others.
  • I want to learn more about my options.

3. Use the following space to list questions, concerns, and next steps.

 
Credits
By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Specialist Medical Reviewer Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology

References
Citations
  1. Boden WE, et al. (2007). Optimal medical therapy with or without PCI for stable coronary disease. New England Journal of Medicine, 356(15): 1503–1516.
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