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Left heart ventricular angiography

  • Definition
    • Left heart ventricular angiography is a procedure to look at the left-sided heart chambers and the function of the left-sided valves. It is sometimes combined with coronary angiography.

  • Alternative Names
    • Angiography - left heart; Left ventriculography

  • How the Test is Performed
    • Before the test, you will be given medicine to help you relax. You will be awake and able to follow instructions during the test.

      An intravenous line is placed in your arm. The health care provider cleans and numbs an area on your arm or groin. A cardiologist makes a small cut in the area, and inserts a thin flexible tube (catheter) into an artery. Using x-rays as a guide, the doctor carefully moves the thin tube (catheter) into your heart.

      When the tube is in place, dye is injected through it. The dye flows through the blood vessels, making them easier to see. X-rays are taken as the dye moves through the blood vessels. These x-ray pictures create a "movie" of the left ventricle as it contracts rhythmically.

      The procedure may last from 1 to several hours.

  • How to Prepare for the Test
    • You will be told not to eat or drink for 6 to 8 hours before the test. The procedure takes place in the hospital. Some people may need to stay in the hospital the night before the test.

      A health care provider will explain the procedure and its risks. You must sign a consent form for the procedure.

  • How the Test will Feel
    • You may feel pressure when the catheter is inserted. Occasionally, a flushing sensation occurs when the dye is injected.

  • Why the Test is Performed
    • Left heart angiography is performed to assess the blood flow through the left side of the heart.

  • Normal Results
    • A normal result shows normal blood flow through the left side of the heart. Blood volumes and pressures are also normal.

  • What Abnormal Results Mean
      • A hole in the heart (ventricular septal defect)
      • Abnormalities of the left heart valves
      • An aneurysm of the heart wall
      • Areas of the heart are not contracting normally
      • Blood flow problems on the left side of the heart
      • Heart-related blockages
      • Weakened pumping function of the left ventricle

      Coronary angiography may be needed when blockage of the coronary arteries is suspected.

  • Risks
    • Risks associated with this procedure include:

  • Considerations
  • References
    • Davidson CJ, Bonow DO. Cardiac catheterization. In: Mann DL, Zipes DP, Libby P, Bonow RO, Braunwald E, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap. 19.