When your loved one is experiencing the symptoms of a heart-related issue such as chest pains, their physician may recommend a coronary angiogram to get a better look at what is happening in the heart. Angiograms are a type of vascular radiology that involves circulating a special dye through your loved one's body that shows up on x-rays. Using this method, a physician can identify problems such as blockages and narrowed arteries so that they can give your loved one the best treatment options possible. Use these strategies to support your loved one as they prepare for this common procedure.
Create a List of Their Medications
Your loved one's physician will need to know all of the medications that they are taking to reduce the risk of negative side effects. For example, your loved one may need to stop taking medications that can affect their body's blood clotting mechanisms such as blood thinners. Keep in mind that over-the-counter medications and supplements should also be included on this list since even herbs can affect the body's circulatory system.
Find Out How Long to Fast
Fasting is usually recommended prior to an angiogram, and it is important to follow the physician's instructions completely. Typically, your loved one may be required to avoid eating or drinking anything after a specific time such as midnight. Help them plan a nutritious and filling dinner before the fast begins, and encourage them to continue with the fast until they are given approval to eat again.
Make Transportation Arrangements
In most cases, your loved one will be able to go home after the procedure, provided that they are showing strong signs of a full recovery. However, they may still be experiencing lingering effects from the sedative that impacts their ability to drive. If you are not able to drive them home after the procedure, make sure that they have safe transportation and assistance getting into their house.
Plan for Help Around the House
Your loved one will need to avoid strenuous activities for at least a few days after the procedure, and it could be longer if they have additional procedures performed such as a stent placed. Arrange for someone to help your loved one with their daily routine so that they have the best chances for a complete recovery.
Angiograms are an efficient way to identify what is causing your loved one's heart-related symptoms. While it is normal for your loved one to be a little nervous before their procedure, you can reduce their anxiety by helping them prepare. From reminding them of all of the medications they take, to planning a few easy days after they get home, you can ensure that they have the full support they need to recover from their angiogram.