Coronary Angiogram (Diagnostic coronary angiography)


A catheter (a small tube) is typically put into an artery in your wrist (or sometimes groin) using local anaesthetic and sedation to help you feel relaxed. The catheter is moved up from the site of insertion the artery until it reaches your heart under x-ray guidance.

A dye is injected into your coronary arteries and a video X-ray is taken. This shows your doctor where and how much your coronary arteries are narrowed. It also shows how well your heart is pumping. The diagnostic angiogram typically takes around 20 minutes.

Coronary angiograms help your doctor decide the best treatment for you. Sometimes it is best to go straight on to coronary angioplasty while you are in the laboratory having a coronary angiogram and the tubes are in place. The cardiologist will typically discuss this with you before the procedure.

Dr Ford’s primary subspecialty interest is in invasive cardiology including coronary angiography and interventional procedures. He has performed over three thousand invasive coronary angiograms and over one thousand percutaneous coronary interventions (stent procedures). He is a trained ‘radial-first’ operator – this means he will use the artery in your wrist to access your heart arteries wherever possible. Whilst this can be more challenging, it is safer for the patient whilst offering a quicker recovery with lower rates of complications (see link for explanation from Mayo Clinic on Radial Approach to Coronary Angiography)

More information on coronary angiography is available from the Heart Foundation of Australia and Mayo Clinic webpages.

Heart attack survivor going strong at 88

Barbara (88) was admitted to Wyong hospital under the care of Dr Ford with chest pains. He diagnosed a heart attack which made her heart muscle weak.

Tom’s ability to put patients, who are often anxious, at ease and his ability to really listen and his kind professional manner are his real strengths.

We are very appreciative for Dr Ford's professionalism and experience. We understood the complexity of the procedure required; Dr Ford is a highly competent and skilled cardiologist.

Everything was fantastic, wonderful, informative and very very positively helpful. I couldn’t be more happy with the whole experience and the positive outcome. He is top of his field and also has an excellent bed side banner. I felt relaxed, confident and important.

Very professional and informative excellent service and caring terrific specialist in his field again absolutely excellent.