Angiogram vs Angioplasty: Are They The Same?

February 28, 2022
5 min read

Heart disease is one of the biggest life-threatening diseases in America. So much so that studies have shown more than half of the United States population falls at risk of contracting it. But with so many people getting affected by heart disease, what are its treatment options, and how do you set them apart?This blog aims to cover exactly that, especially by listing out the main differences between an angiogram vs. angioplasty, the two common procedures related to heart disease.

What is an Angiogram?

An angiogram is a medical procedure used to diagnose heart conditions. Commonly referred to as an angiography, an angiogram helps to determine the state of your heart and the blood vessels leading up to it. For instance, a cardiologist can easily locate blockages in the blood vessels through angiography and note how the blood flows through them.The results angiography provides, the digital imaging, is then ultimately regarded as an angiogram.

What is Angioplasty?

Angioplasty, on the other hand, is a treatment method for blocked arteries and veins. Usually, a thin catheter is inserted in your chest, which helps to unblock the blood vessels. This is done by widening or 'ballooning' the artery to let the blood flow with ease. Considering how the primary purpose of angioplasty is to repair the blood flow to your heart, it's an excellent treatment option. Plus, due to its minimally invasive nature, it offers a way out of high-grade heart surgeries.

Angiogram vs Angioplasty: What Sets Them Apart?

The most significant difference between an angiogram vs. angioplasty is the purpose. Where an angiogram helps to detect heart disease and blocked blood vessels, an angioplasty treats it. However, there are other important factors, too, such as the procedure success rate, pros & cons, etc.

  1. Procedure
  2. Angiogram: For an angiography, you're not put under sedation. However, anesthesia is still provided to numb certain areas. A cardiologist then inserts a thin catheter into your artery (mostly the wrist), which leads to the problem area (heart). Once connected, a special dye is injected inside the catheter to help the blood vessels appear on an x-ray. This essentially allows the doctor to perform an x-ray and identify any problem if it exists.
  3. Angioplasty: An angioplasty is performed in a similar manner to an angiogram. It starts with a small incision on your artery, after which a catheter is inserted inside the blood vessel. This stretches the artery out until it hits the blocked vessel. Once the problem area is located, the cardiologist uses a balloon to suck out the plaque or a wire mesh tube (stent). A stent is a long-term solution as it allows the blood to pass freely through its mesh body, preventing buildup.
  1. How Accurate is it?
  2. Angiogram: Angiography has a high success rate, with a 90% accurate diagnosis result.
  3. Angioplasty: After an angioplasty, the accuracy and results depend on the patient. If they adopt a healthier lifestyle, it's likely to go well. If not, it could put them at risk for restenosis.

What's The Takeaway?

To sum it up, there is a huge difference when it comes to angiogram vs. angioplasty. An angiogram finds heart diseases, and an angioplasty works to treat them. More specifically, what they do have in common, though, is how they both revolve around blocked blood vessels. Nonetheless, if you have further queries or would like to schedule an appointment for an angiography, contact NorthWest Cardiovascular Clinic at (281) 807-5253.

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