An angiogram is an x-ray picture of the arteries or veins.
X-ray contrast (an iodine-containing substance) is injected through a thin plastic tube (catheter) to outline the vessels. Common areas for an angiogram are legs, kidneys, head and heart.
The procedure is performed most commonly through an artery in the groin, under local anaesthetic. It is performed under sterile conditions with all members of the team dressed in sterile theatre gowns. The initial local anaesthetic injection stings a little, but after that there should be minimal discomfort.
Once the area is numb, a small plastic tube (catheter) is placed in the artery or vein. Contrast dye, which can be seen under x-ray, is injected through the catheter into the arteries and a series of pictures is taken. This produces a warm feeling which only lasts for a few seconds. At this stage you will be asked to keep still.
The x-ray machine will move around your body (but will not touch you) to view the arteries from a number of different positions to identify any arteries that are narrowed or blocked.
At the conclusion of the procedure, the catheter is removed. Pressure is applied to the groin artery to allow it to seal. This takes about 10 – 20 minutes.
Risks / Side Effects
Infection: Usually minor (1%) – If you notice any fever or redness, swelling, or increased pain atthe injection site after the first 2 days, notify your referring doctor or call the clinic where the injection was performed immediately.
Vessel Injury: Blood clot or a weakness of the blood vessel (pseudoaneurysm) wall that may need treatment
Contrast Allergy: Nausea, sneezing, vomiting, itching, hives and dizziness. More serious reactions are very rare.