In very rare cases, more serious complications of coronary angiography can occur. These include:
- damage to the artery in the arm or groin in which the catheter was inserted, with the blood supply to the limb possibly being affected
- heart attack – a serious medical emergency where the heart's blood supply is suddenly blocked
- stroke – a serious medical condition that occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted
- damage to the kidneys caused by the contrast dye
- tissue damage caused by X-ray radiation if the procedure is prolonged
The risk of a serious complication occurring is estimated to be less than 1 in 1,000. People with serious underlying heart problems are most at risk.
Your cardiologist should discuss the risks with you before the procedure.