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Department of Radiology
Your Doctor Has Ordered: An Angiogram
University of Iowa Department of Radiology
Peer Review Status: Internally Peer Reviewed
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An angiogram is an x-ray exam that enables the radiologist (a physician who specializes in x-ray interpretation) to study your blood vessels and organs by injecting a contrast material into your blood vessels, so they may be viewed on an x-ray film. This x-ray examination will assist your doctor in making a diagnosis.
Usually little preparation is necessary prior to the examination, however:
While in the Procedure Room:
- You should have no food or drink after midnight on the night before the angiogram.
- You will be asked to change into a hospital gown. It would also be a good idea to empty your bladder before the exam.
- If current laboratory values are needed, they may be drawn at this time.
- An IV will need to be in place before going into the procedure room.
During the examination:
- You will be assisted onto an x-ray table.
- The area where the small incision will be made will be cleaned and shaved.
- A blood pressure cuff, a heart monitor, and a pulse oximeter on the finger, will likely be placed.
- A sterile drape will then be placed on you. It is important, at this time, for you to keep your arms at your side.
- Please inform the nurse or physician if you would like an injection for pain or anxiety. We want you to be comfortable!
- A small catheter will be inserted into the desired blood vessel via the small incision.
- You will then be ready for the injection of contrast material, and x-rays will be taken. During this injection, you will feel a hot sensation that will last 5-20 seconds; it is of utmost importance that you remain very still during this short period, so the x-rays will not be blurred.
- When the procedure is completed, the catheter will be removed and pressure will be applied over the area for about 10 minutes, so the artery will not bleed. You must then lie flat in bed for the next 6 hours. If you should notice any swelling, bleeding, or pain where the catheter was placed, you should call the nurse to check the area.
Interpretation of Results:
The radiologist will interpret the procedure, and will report the information to your physician, who in turn will discuss the report with you.
- If you know that you have any history of allergy, please tell the physician before the examination.
- If you are a woman of child-bearing age and there is a possibility that you may be pregnant, please bring this to the attention of the radiology staff.
- If you are an outpatient (planning on going home the same day as the angiogram), transportation will need to be arranged. We advise that you do not drive for 24-hours; therefore, it is preferred that someone is with you who can drive. Please inform your driver that your 6-hour recovery will take place in the holding area of Interventional Radiology (Angio).
- If your home is not within 1 hour of a hospital, it is likely that you will be admitted overnight.