(Catheter Angiography; Arteriography; Angiogram)
by Michael Jubinville, MPH
An angiography is an x-ray exam of the blood vessels. Contrast matter is placed in the blood vessels to make them easier to see.
Reasons for Procedure
Angiography may be done to:
Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will review potential problems such as:
The risk of complications is higher for:
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
Before the test, your doctor may:
Arrange for a ride to and from the procedure.
Local anesthesia is used to numb the catheter site. A sedative may also be given to help you relax.
Description of the Procedure
The catheter site will be cleaned. The catheter is placed into the artery through a small cut in the groin, upper thigh, arm, or neck. It is threaded up to the area that needs to be checked. Contrast matter is placed into the catheter. This makes the blood vessels easier to see on the TV screen. The catheter is taken out after a series of x-rays are taken. Pressure will be applied to the site for 10 minutes. A bandage will be placed over the site.
How Long Will It Take?
Less than an hour. It can take many hours if the doctor decides to fix any problems at the same time.
How Much Will It Hurt?
It is not painful, but you may feel:
At the Care Center
Right after the procedure the care team will have you:
Let your care team know if you have swelling, bleeding, bruising, or pain at the catheter site.
The length of stay depends on why you needed the test and your overall health.
You will need to care for the catheter site. Your care team will teach you how to do this.
The doctor will talk to you about the results. You may need further testing or treatment.
Call Your Doctor
Call your doctor if any of these happen:
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
American Heart Association
Radiology Info—Radiological Society of North America
The College of Family Physicians of Canada
Angiogram. Society for Vascular Surgery website. Available at: https://vascular.org/patient-resources/vascular-tests/angiogram. Accessed March 21, 2018.
Catheter angiography. Radiology Info—Radiological Society of North America website. Available at: https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=angiocath. Updated January 20, 2018. Accessed March 21, 2018.
Coronary angiography. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/coronary-angiography. Accessed March 21, 2018.
Last reviewed March 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael J. Fucci, DO, FACC
Last Updated: 3/21/2019
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