How It Is Done
An angiogram is done by a Reference radiologist Opens New Window. The radiologist may be helped by another doctor, a radiology technologist, or a nurse.
You will need to take off any jewelry. You may need to take off all or most of your clothes. You will be given a gown to wear during the test.
You will likely have an Reference intravenous (IV) Opens New Window line in a vein in your arm so your doctor can give you medicine or fluids if needed. A device called a pulse oximeter, which measures oxygen levels in your blood, may be clipped to your finger or ear. Small discs (electrodes) are placed on your arms, chest, or legs to record your heart rate and rhythm.
You will lie on your back on an X-ray table. Ask for a pad or blanket to make yourself comfortable. A strap, tape, or sandbags may be used to hold your body still. A lead apron may be placed under your genital and pelvic areas to protect them from X-ray exposure.
A round cylinder or rectangular box that takes the pictures during fluoroscopy will be moved above you. The fluoroscope will move under you during the test.
The place where the catheter will be inserted (in the groin or above the elbow) will be shaved and cleaned. Your doctor will numb the area with a Reference local anesthetic Opens New Window. Then he or she will put a needle into the blood vessel. A guide wire will be put through the needle into the blood vessel and the needle will be removed. The catheter will be placed over the guide wire and moved into the blood vessel. The catheter then will be guided through the blood vessels until the tip is in the area to be studied. Your doctor will use the fluoroscope to watch the movement of the catheter in the blood vessels.
When the catheter is in place, the dye is injected through it. You may be asked to take a breath and hold it for several seconds. Several X-ray pictures will be taken one after another. These will be available right away for your doctor to look at. You need to lie very still so the pictures are clear. More pictures may be taken. See a picture of Reference how an angiogram is done Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window.
An angiogram takes 1 to 3 hours. The catheter is taken out after the angiogram, and pressure is put on the needle site for 10 to 15 minutes to stop any bleeding. A small sandbag or clamp may be put on the site to hold pressure. A bandage is put on the site. You will be given pain medicine if you need it.
If the catheter was put in a vessel in your arm, you should not have any blood taken from that arm or your blood pressure measured in that arm for several days. You will rest in bed after the test for several hours. If the catheter was placed in the groin area, try to keep that leg straight for 8 hours. Your doctor will give you specific instructions after the test. You can use an ice pack on the needle site to relieve pain and swelling.
The place in your hands and feet where your heartbeat (peripheral pulse) can be felt may be marked with a pen. Your pulse may be checked before and after the angiogram.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference December 5, 2010|
|Medical Review:||Reference Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Howard Schaff, MD - Diagnostic Radiology