Angiogram/Cardiac Catheterization


Angiograms are generally safe for children and adults, and the estimated risks from an elective coronary angiogram is < 1%. However, there are risks with any test, and the following may occur:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Heart attack, stroke, and death (although uncommon)

If you or your child has an allergy to iodine or X-ray dye, inform the doctor so that medication to avoid an allergic reaction can be prescribed. The contrast dye typically used during the angiogram procedure contains iodine. Some patients have a minor reaction to the X-ray dye, such as a skin rash or itching. The chance of a life-threatening reaction to the dye is very small - it rarely causes serious or permanent kidney damage, especially for patients with normal kidney function. . However, patients who have weakened kidney function, for example, due to diabetes or high blood pressure, may face a greater risk of further reduction in kidney function. If a reduction in kidney function occurs, it is often temporary, but sometimes it may be permanent.

An angiogram uses X-ray technology, which exposes patients to ionizing radiation. Safety guidelines and equipment in the catheterization (cath) lab are designed to limit this exposure.