Cardiac catheterisation and angiography

Angiography is a procedure that uses an injection of a liquid dye to watch blood flow through the arteries that supply your heart muscle (coronary arteries). It can also give information about the pressures and function of the ventricles.

The procedure takes place in an x-ray room and takes from 20 minutes to an hour, depending on what is found.

A team of healthcare professionals are involved in the procedure, including a doctor, nurse, technician and radiographer.

A catheter is passed into a vein or artery, either in your groin or arm. You will be given a local anaesthetic so you will not feel this. X-ray screening is used to help direct the catheter through your blood vessels and into the correct position in your heart. You won’t feel the catheter moving and can choose to watch it on the video screen.

Once in position, the blood pressure at the tip of the catheter will be checked. Then a dye will be put down the catheter and a series of x-ray pictures will be taken.

When the procedure is over the catheter is removed and a nurse will apply a dressing.

After the test you will have to rest for several hours and you may find you feel fatigued for a while. The place where the catheter was inserted may be sore and you may have a small bleed or small lump around the area, but this will disappear after a few days.

Angiography gives vital information about the pressures inside your heart, how well your heart is working and the blood flow in your coronary arteries. This procedure also enables the cardiologist to assess if you have poorly functioning valves.

It can also locate narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to your heart muscle, and determine how serious they are.

The results of an angiography will assist in decisions about possible interventions or surgery.

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ESC Guidelines for Heart Failure

What patients need to know

This guide for patients from the European Society of Cardiology aims to provide an overview of the latest evidence-based recommendations for the diagnosis and treatment of heart failure.

In particular, it should help patients to understand the:

  • main types of heart failure
  • medicines used to treat heart failure
  • devices that may be appropriate
  • importance of rehabilitation
  • management by a multidisciplinary team
  • importance of self-care in managing your own condition

Learn more


A series of 9 simple, captivating animations explaining heart failure and its treatment.

These narrated animations explain how a healthy heart works, what happens to it in heart failure and how various treatments work to improve your health.


In this section you can watch, listen or read interviews with other people with heart failure and their caregivers.


and share your own views and experiences with other patients, families and caregivers. is a European Society of Cardiology website

The website was developed under the direction of the Heart Failure Association of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). The ESC is a world leader in the discovery and dissemination of best practices in cardiovascular medicine. Our members and decision-makers are healthcare professionals who volunteer their time and expertise to represent professionals in the field of cardiology in Europe and beyond.

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