Difference Between Angioplasty and Angiography

Angioplasty vs Angiographye

Angioplasty and angiography are medical procedures used to diagnose and treat conditions affecting the blood vessels, particularly the arteries. While they are related, they serve different purposes.

Angiography[1] is a diagnostic procedure that involves using contrast dye and imaging techniques to visualize the blood vessels. It helps doctors assess the condition of the blood vessels, identify any blockages or abnormalities, and determine the extent of the problem. Angioplasty[2] is a therapeutic procedure used to treat blockages or narrowing of the arteries. It is often performed immediately following an angiography if a significant blockage gets identified.

Difference between Angioplasty and Angiography

Angiography is a diagnostic procedure[1] that helps doctors assess the condition of the blood vessels, identify any blockages or abnormalities, and determine the extent of the problem. During angiography, a catheter is inserted into a blood vessel, usually in the groin area, and guided to the specific area of interest. Contrast dye then gets injected through the catheter, allowing the blood vessels to be visible on X-ray or fluoroscopy. This procedure provides valuable information to doctors and helps them make informed decisions regarding further treatment options.

On the other hand, during angioplasty[2], a balloon-tipped catheter is inserted into the affected blood vessel and advanced to the blockage site. The balloon then gets inflated, compressing the plaque or fatty deposits against the arterial walls, widening the vessel, and improving blood flow. In some cases, a stent, a small mesh tube, may be placed during the procedure to help keep the artery open.

Angioplasty Vs Angiography: What Is It?

Angiography is a diagnostic procedure that uses contrast dye and imaging techniques to visualize blood vessels and identify any abnormalities, while angioplasty is a therapeutic procedure[3] performed to treat arterial blockages by widening the blood vessels using a balloon catheter or stent.

1. Angioplasty

Angioplasty is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat blockages or narrowing in the arteries, commonly in the heart's coronary arteries or peripheral arteries in the limbs. During angioplasty[2], a thin, flexible tube called a catheter is inserted into a blood vessel, usually in the groin or wrist area, and guided to the site of the blockage. It improves blood flow to the affected area, relieving symptoms such as chest pain or leg pain. Angioplasty is a commonly performed procedure that can effectively restore blood flow and alleviate symptoms associated with arterial blockages.

2. Angiography

Angiography allows doctors to examine the structure and functioning of one's blood vessels[1], assess the presence of any blockages or abnormalities, and make informed decisions regarding further treatment options. Angiography helps diagnose various cardiovascular conditions and guide appropriate interventions.

Angioplasty Vs Angiography: When Does The Doctor Advise?

When advising angioplasty or angiography, the doctor's recommendation gets based on the patient's specific condition and needs. The doctor will carefully assess the patient's medical history, symptoms, diagnostic test results, and overall health condition to determine whether angiography[1] or angioplasty is the most appropriate course of action. The recommendation will get tailored to the patient's needs to provide an accurate diagnosis and optimal treatment.


The doctor may advise angioplasty[2] in the following situations:

  • A patient experiences symptoms, such as chest pain (angina), that indicate reduced blood flow to the heart muscle.
  • There is evidence of a significant blockage or narrowing in the heart's coronary arteries or other peripheral arteries, as observed during angiography.
  • The patient has had a heart attack or unstable angina, indicating a more urgent need to restore blood flow.
  • Conservative treatments such as medication or lifestyle changes have not effectively improved the symptoms or reduced the blockage.
  • The blockage causes severe symptoms that significantly affect the patient's quality of life.


The doctor may advise angiography[4] in the following situations:

  • A patient presents symptoms that suggest a potential problem with the blood vessels, such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or leg pain.
  • Risk factors for cardiovascular disease - high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, or a family history of heart disease.
  • When non-invasive tests, such as an electrocardiogram (ECG) or stress test, indicate the possibility of arterial blockages or narrowing.
  • The doctor needs to assess the condition of the blood vessels before considering a potential intervention, such as angioplasty or bypass surgery.
  • There is a need to evaluate the extent and severity of arterial blockages or abnormalities to develop an appropriate treatment plan.
  • There is a need to investigate the cause of unexplained symptoms or to monitor the progression of a known vascular condition.

Angioplasty Vs Angiography: Procedure

Angiography and angioplasty are distinct procedures[2], each serving a different purpose. Here's an overview of how each technique works:


  • Guidewire insertion: Similar to angiography, a catheter is inserted into a blood vessel and guided to the area of the blockage or narrowing.
  • Balloon inflation: A balloon-tipped catheter gets positioned at the site of the blockage or narrowing. The balloon gets inflated, exerting pressure against the arterial walls, and compressing the plaque or fatty deposits, widening the vessel.
  • Stent placement (if necessary): A stent (a small mesh tube) may get placed during angioplasty[3]; in some cases. The stent is expanded and helps to hold open the artery, maintaining blood flow after the balloon deflates.
  • Balloon deflation and catheter removal: After the artery gets widened and, if applicable, the stent is in place, the balloon deflates, and the catheter gets removed.
  • Closure and recovery: Pressure is applied to the insertion site to stop bleeding. The patient is closely monitored for a short period and gets discharged the same day or after a short observation period.


  • Preparation: The patient gets typically given a sedative or local anesthesia. The area where the catheter will be inserted (usually the groin or wrist) is cleaned and numbed.
  • Catheter insertion: A thin, flexible tube called a catheter is inserted into a blood vessel and carefully threaded to the area of interest using X-ray or fluoroscopy guidance.
  • Contrast dye injection: Contrast dye gets injected through the catheter, which travels through the blood vessels. The contrast dye helps visualize the blood vessels on X-ray or fluoroscopy images.
  • Imaging: X-ray or fluoroscopy images get taken as the contrast dye flows through the blood vessels, allowing the doctor to visualize the structure and identify any abnormalities.
  • Catheter removal: Once the procedure is complete, the catheter gets removed, and pressure is applied to the insertion site to prevent bleeding. A bandage or compression device then gets used to aid in healing.

It's important to note that the specific details of the procedures may vary depending on the patient, the location of the procedure (e.g., coronary arteries, peripheral arteries), and the individualized treatment plan determined by the doctor.

Angioplasty Vs Angiography: Duration

The duration of angioplasty and angiography procedures can vary depending on several factors, including the complexity of each case, the number of vessels being examined or treated, and the individual patient's condition. The angiography procedure[1] itself usually takes around 30 minutes to an hour. However, the doctor may need additional time for preparation, including obtaining medical history and consent and preparing the patient for the procedure. Angioplasty procedure duration can vary depending on the complexity and the number of blockages getting treated. On average, angioplasty typically takes 30 minutes to 2 hours to complete.

Angioplasty Vs Angiography: Recovery Time

The recovery time for angiography is relatively short. After the procedure, the patient is usually monitored for a brief period to ensure there are no immediate complications. Most patients can expect to resume their normal activities within a few hours to a day following the procedure.

The recovery time for angioplasty[2] can vary depending on the complexity of the procedure and the specific arterial blockages getting treated. Patients who undergo uncomplicated angioplasty can expect to stay in the hospital for a short period, often overnight or up to 24 hours for observation. Recovery time beyond the hospital stay varies but may involve a few days to a week of limited activity and rest, depending on the individual patient and the specific instructions given by the doctor.

Angioplasty Vs Angiography: Cost

The cost of angioplasty and angiography[4] procedures in India can vary widely depending on several factors, such as the city or region, the hospital or medical facility, the medical team's expertise, the type of procedure, and any additional tests or treatments required. Additionally, the cost may vary for different types of health insurance coverage or if the procedures get performed in government-funded or private hospitals. It's important to note that the information provided here is a general estimate and can change over time.

The approximate cost range for angiography in India is between INR 20,000 to INR 60,000. For angioplasty, the cost can vary significantly depending on various factors such as the number of stents used, the complexity of the procedure, the type of stent (drug-eluting or bare metal stent), and the hospital. On average, the cost of angioplasty can range from INR 1,50,000 to INR 5,00,000 or even higher in some cases.

Angioplasty Vs Angiography: Success Rates

Angiography is generally considered a highly effective and reliable method for visualizing and evaluating the condition of the blood vessels. The success rate of angiography in accurately identifying blockages, narrowing, or other abnormalities is typically high, helping doctors make informed decisions regarding further treatment options.

The success rate of angioplasty[2] can get influenced by factors such as the type and complexity of the blockage, the use of additional interventions like stent placement, and the patient's adherence to post-procedure care and lifestyle changes.

Angioplasty Vs Angiography: Side Effects

Angioplasty and angiography procedures carry some potential side effects. However, they are generally considered safe. It's important to note that the side effects can vary depending on the individual patient, the specific procedure, and other factors. Here are some possible side effects and complications associated with each technique:


  • Similar to angiography, there is a risk of allergic reactions to the contrast dye used during the procedure, although it is relatively rare.
  • Blood vessel injury: The insertion and manipulation of the catheter carry a small risk of blood vessel damage or injury, which may require further medical intervention.
  • Restenosis: In some cases, the treated artery may narrow again over time - a condition known as restenosis. It may require additional procedures or interventions.
  • Blood clots: Angioplasty[2] can sometimes trigger the formation of blood clots in the treated artery or at the site of stent placement. Blood-thinning medications get typically prescribed to minimize this risk.
  • Infection: While rare, there is a small risk of infection at the catheter insertion site or in the bloodstream.


  • Allergic reactions to the contrast dye used during angiography are possible, although they are rare. Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include rash, itching, difficulty breathing, or swelling.
  • Kidney damage: In some cases, the contrast dye used during angiography can cause kidney problems[4], particularly in individuals with pre-existing kidney disease or certain risk factors. Adequate hydration and appropriate management can help minimize this risk.
  • Bleeding or bruising at the catheter insertion site: It's common to experience minor bruising or bleeding at the procedure site where the catheter gets inserted. Most cases resolve eventually, but sometimes, more significant bleeding may occur, requiring medical attention.
  • Blood vessel damage or injury: Rarely, there may be damage or injury to the blood vessel where the catheter gets inserted, which could require further treatment or intervention.

Discuss potential side effects and complications with the doctor or healthcare team beforehand. They can provide detailed information about the risks, possible side effects, and steps taken to mitigate them based on the individual patient's circumstances.

Angioplasty Vs Angiography: Risk & Complications

Angioplasty[3] and angiography are generally safe procedures, but like any medical intervention, they carry some risks and potential complications. Here are some potential risks and complications associated with each procedure:


An angioplasty rarely results in serious complications, but every invasive approach has a slight chance of doing so. One out of every 100 procedures has difficulties, though this number may differ depending on your unique situation.

  • A reaction to the dye
  • Heart attack or stroke
  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Blood vessel or kidney damage
  • Blood clots
  • Chest pain
  • Bleeding
  • A repeat blockage if a stent isn’t placed in your artery


Low risks apply to angiograms. However, there may be issues where your provider punctures your skin to reach the artery. Less than 1% of angiography procedures result in complications. Angiogram risks typically involve the puncture site and include the following:

  • Bruises, which go away in 1-3 weeks
  • Bleeding or infection
  • Pain
  • Kidney issues
  • An allergic reaction to the contrast material (dye)
  • Injury to blood vessels
  • Heart attack or stroke (rarely)
  • Blood vessel leak (rarely)


In summary, angiography is a diagnostic procedure that uses contrast dye and imaging techniques to visualize and assess the condition of blood vessels. It helps doctors identify blockages, narrowing, or abnormalities in the arteries. On the other hand, angioplasty is a therapeutic procedure performed to treat narrowed or blocked arteries. While angiography provides information about the blood vessels, angioplasty is an intervention that aims to restore normal blood flow by treating the identified blockages or narrowing.

Get Expert Care At DPU Hospital

Your doctor is likely looking for solutions if they recommend angioplasty or an angiogram for you. They will use the information from your various tests to determine whether you need treatment and what kind. Our expert team of cardiologists is skilled in addressing your needs, and we at DPU Hospital pride ourselves on providing top-notch patient care. To address any issues or concerns, request an appointment with the doctor today.