An angiogram is an x-ray picture of the arteries or veins.

An iodine-containing substance is injected into an artery or vein through a thin plastic tube (called a catheter) to outline the vessels. Common areas for an angiogram are legs, kidneys, head, and heart.

Preparation for Angiography (Angiogram)

You will need to fast for 4 hours before your appointment. Our staff will tell you what time to come to the clinic. You may be required to bring any previous x-rays with you on the day of your test.

If you are on blood-thinning medication such as Aspirin or Warfarin, take your usual dose with a small amount of water. 

It is important to tell your doctor and the staff at Dr Jones & Partners if:

  • you are or may be pregnant;
  • you have any allergies and medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease or thyroid problems;
  • you are taking any medication.

Procedure

The procedure takes place in sterile conditions, with all members of the team dressed in sterile theatre gowns.

An artery in the groin is a common location used for the procedure access, which is numbed with a local anaesthetic. The local anaesthetic injection stings a little, but after that, you should be comfortable.

Once the area is numb, a small plastic tube (catheter) is placed in the artery or vein. Contrast dye, which is seen under x-ray, is injected through the catheter into the arteries and a series of pictures are taken. The contrast dye produces a warm feeling which lasts a few seconds throughout your body and legs. You will be asked to keep still.

The x-ray machine will move closely around your body (without touching you) to view the arteries from different positions to show any arteries that are narrowed or blocked.

The catheter is removed, and either a sterile medical closure device or pressure is applied to the groin artery to allow it to seal, which can take about 10 – 20 minutes.

Duration

The procedure will usually take less than an hour. If it is combined with another procedure, such as angioplasty or embolisation, the time will be longer. You might be required to stay in a recovery room for up to four hours after the procedure.

Post-Procedure Care

After the Angiogram, you will either stay in the hospital overnight or remain in the recovery room or Radiology department for at least three hours. You will need to lie flat for the first two hours, and then you will be able to walk around. The contrast dye is cleared from your body by your kidneys, so you will need to drink plenty of water after the test.

You should not drive for 48 hours after the procedure.

Risks / Side effects

Infections:

Infections may be seen in less than 1% of patients receiving a procedure through vascular access. This is recognised through body fever and localised redness, swelling or increased pain at the injection site after the first two days.

Vessel Injury: 

In rare circumstances, a blood clot or weakness of the blood vessel wall (pseudoaneurysm) may occur, that may require localised treatment. It can be recognised by extensive bruising or swelling and pain around the area of vascular access. If experienced, immediately notify your referring doctor or call the clinic where the injection was performed.

Contrast Allergy:

An allergy to the contrast dye may cause nausea, sneezing, vomiting, itching, hives and dizziness. More severe reactions are very rare. Symptoms such as these are experienced in approximately 1% of patients receiving contrast dye, ranging from 0.66% experiencing mild effects, and less than 0.2% experiencing severe effects.

View the patient care page for additional information regarding patient safety.

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