An angiography is an x-ray exam of the blood vessels. The exam uses a chemical that is injected into the blood vessels. The chemical makes the blood vessels easier to see on the x-ray.
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This procedure may be done to:
In some cases, the doctor can treat a blocked blood vessel during the procedure. This would prevent the need for another procedure.
Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
Before the test, your doctor may:
You will need to arrange for a ride to and from the procedure.
A local anesthesia will be injected into your arm or groin. A small dose of sedative may also be given by IV.
An area of your groin or arm will be cleaned. This is where a catheter will be inserted. A small incision will be made into your skin. The catheter will be placed through the incision into an artery. The doctor will guide the catheter through the arteries to the area to be examined. The contrast material is injected through the catheter. The procedure will be viewed on a nearby monitor. Several sets of x-rays will be taken. The catheter will then be removed. Pressure will be applied to the area for about 10 minutes.
Less than an hour to several hours. It depends on whether the doctor decides to fix any problems at the same time.
Although the procedure is not painful, you may feel the following discomfort:
Immediately following the procedure:
When you return home after the procedure, be sure to follow your doctor's instructions.
The doctor will examine the x-rays. Your doctor will discuss the findings and any necessary treatment options with you.
Contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
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. VascularWeb website. Available at: http://www.vascularweb.org/vascularhealth/Pages/angiogram.aspx. Updated January 2011. Accessed March 12, 2015.
Angiogram (arteriogram). California Pacific Medical Center website. Available at: http://www.cpmc.org/learning/documents/ir-angioarterio-ws.pdf. Updated October 2013. Accessed March 12, 2015.
Catheter angiography. Radiological Society of North American Radiology Info website. Available at: http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=angiocath. Updated February 12, 2014. Accessed March 12, 2015.
What is coronary angiography. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/ca. Updated March 2, 2012. Accessed March 12, 2015.
Last reviewed March 2014 by Michael J. Fucci, DO
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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