Harvard Health Letter

By the way, doctor: Should my mother get an angiogram?

Q. My 82-year-old mother is having angina when she exerts herself. She is scheduled for an angiogram and maybe angioplasty. I've heard that women's heart disease is different from men's and that angioplasty may not be as effective in women. Should she get the angiogram?

A. I think an angiogram is a reasonable choice for your mother, assuming that she has had a good trial of medicines like beta blockers and calcium-channel blockers. If she is still limited by her symptoms despite taking medication, then angioplasty might really improve her quality of life.

An angiogram is a diagnostic test that involves looking for blockages in the coronary arteries that supply the heart. Angioplasty opens up closed coronary arteries, so blood can flow through.

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