Angiography Vs. Angioplasty: Know the Differences

Do you know the difference between angiography and angioplasty? Not to worry! You may learn about two terms with a lot in common and a lot in difference here. The terms “coronary angioplasty” and “coronary angiography” refer to medical procedures used on the heart’s blood vessels. Learn more about the similarities and differences between them as well as the reasons why your doctor would advise using either one or both.


Angiography, also known as a Coronary Angiogram, is a procedure that uses X-rays to examine the status of blood vessels in the chest, arms, or head. Any blood artery obstruction is detected, noted, and communicated to the consultant cardiologist or physician. Pregnant people with a history of asthma, renal disease, or diabetes are not suitable for an angiogram.

An angiography is conducted by inserting a catheter into the studied artery or vein. It is possible to see the precise location of any blockage or rupture in an artery using an x-ray after an injection of the iodine dye is given into the artery. Angiogram findings can be examined on conventional x-ray films or, with the help of modern technology, as digital images.


Using an inflated balloon catheter to unblock the blocked vessel, any clogged vessels are opened during an angioplasty operation. When a patient has several blocked vessels or arteries, open heart surgery is preferred by medical professionals over an angioplasty as the appropriate treatment.

The best candidates for both operations are those with mild heart attacks and strokes. A catheter is used to perform an angioplasty by inserting it into an artery near the general site of the blockage through the skin. At the end of the catheter is a tiny balloon that, when inflated, stretches the artery to its original size and pushes the obstruction through.

Angiogram vs. Angioplasty: Procedure and Duration

Angiogram and angioplasty procedures are quite similar. However, there are also variances since they attempt to deal with various health-related problems.


When you come for your treatment, you will be given sedation and local anaesthetic to help you rest and numb the incision site. The doctor will create a tiny incision outside your groin to reach your femoral artery. This artery is favoured since it is easily accessible and links to every other artery in the body.

A thin medical-grade catheter tubing is inserted into your artery by the doctor, who then threads it to the location that needs to be examined. The location of this region might be your kidneys, heart, brain, arm, or leg. The doctor will inject an iodine dye into the tubing to cause it to emerge from the targeted blood vessels.

The doctor uses an x-ray machine to create a set of pictures that indicate your heartbeat, blood pressure, blood oxygen levels, and blood flow. Once the surgery is finished, the catheter is removed. The length of each angiography varies depending on the location and any blockages or anomalies the physician may find.

Angiograms often last anywhere from 15 minutes to two hours or more. Angiography is an outpatient surgery completed the same day you return home.


Similar to angiography, the angioplasty procedure starts with you being sedated and receiving local anaesthesia. A second incision is made by the vascular surgeon, who then threads a catheter tube to the location of the blockage or narrowed artery in your femoral artery. But the tip of this catheter contains a little balloon.

The surgeon blows up the balloon, compressing the obstruction against the arterial wall. The doctor will inject iodine dye after deflating the balloon to see if your blood flow has increased. When the doctor is pleased with the progress, the balloon & catheter are removed from your artery.

Sometimes the surgeon may inflate the balloon and place a wire-mesh stent simultaneously. If doctors think your artery could narrow again, they might add this step. The balloon & catheter are taken out of your artery at the end of the treatment, but the stent is still inside your artery.

Depending on the kind of angioplasty, the procedure might last anywhere between 30 minutes to three hours or longer. You frequently spend the night in the hospital after an angioplasty so that nurses can monitor your well-being and ensure effective treatment.

Angiogram Recovery vs. Angioplasty Recovery

Both treatments will result in immediate recovery; however, an angioplasty would probably require a lengthier hospital stay.


You can have discomfort for one to two days following an angiography at the incision site. Additionally, you can get a one- to two-week-long bruising. Your doctor would advise limiting yourself to light exercise for the first few days and staying away from strenuous activities for at least a week.


If you have undergone an angioplasty surgery and are showing positive responses to the treatment, you will be allowed to leave the hospital between 12 and 24 hours following the surgery. There may be some typical bruising and pain. For roughly a week, your doctor advises against engaging in vigorous exercise.

In Conclusion

Although the two procedures similarly help artery and vessel obstructions, they accomplish different things. An angioplasty fixes and restores the condition, whereas an angiography locates the problem’s origin. Both methods require a catheter to reach the problem location; however, one injects iodine while the other uses a balloon.

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