An arteriogram is a test allows the arteries to be viewed on an
. A contrast dye is injected into the arteries to make them visible. The test makes images that can be used to diagnose and treat problems in the arteries.
An arteriogram is done to check the arteries for narrowing, bulging, or blockages. These could be signs of disease.
Plaque Blocking an Artery
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This test could be done to diagnose conditions such as: Peripheral arterial disease
(PAD)—blockages in the arteries in your arms or legs
—bulging of the arteries
Vascular malformation—problems in the structure of the arteries
Sometimes, found during the arteriogram may be treated. A clot may be dissolved or
with or without stenting may be done.
Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like: Bruising or infection at the puncture siteBleeding, pain, or swelling where the catheter was insertedAllergic reaction to the contrast dyeDamage to the blood vessels during the procedure, which may require surgeryHeart attack
, or in rare cases, death
At your appointment before the test, your doctor will likely: Do a thorough physical examinationDo blood tests
Your medical historyMedication you takeAllergiesWhether you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant
In the days before your procedure, you will need to: Arrange for a ride to and from the procedure.Talk to your doctor if you take any medications, herbs, or supplements.
You may need to stop taking some medications up to 1 week before the procedure.
Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your procedure.
You will have an IV placed in your arm to give you medications. These medications will make you feel sleepy and comfortable.
For this procedure, you will have a catheter placed in your groin or elbow so that the contrast dye can be injected. The skin where the catheter will be placed will be cleaned. A tiny cut will be made. A hollow needle will be inserted into the artery. A thin wire will be placed into the artery. The catheter will be threaded over the wire, and the wire will be removed.
The catheter will be used to inject a contrast dye into your artery. The dye may cause you to feel warm or flushed for a few moments. X-rays will be taken to see how the contrast dye is moving through your arteries. You will need to lie still to prevent blurry images.
Although the procedure is not painful, you may feel: A brief sting when local anesthesia is injectedPressure when catheter is insertedHot and flushed when contrast dye is injected
After the test, the catheter will be removed. The IV will also be removed from your arm.
Immediately following the procedure: You will need to be monitored for about 6 hours.Pressure may be applied to the insertion site for 10-20 minutes to stop the bleeding.You will need to keep the arm or leg where the catheter was inserted straight. This will minimize bleeding.You will be encouraged to drink a lot of fluids to flush the contrast material from your system.
When you return home, be sure to follow all of your doctor's instructions.
Call your doctor if any of these occurs: Signs of infection, including fever and chillsRedness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or any discharge from the injection siteExtreme sweating, nausea, or vomitingExtreme pain, including chest painLeg or arm feels cold, turns white or blue, or becomes numb or tinglyDifficulty breathingAny problems with your speech or visionFacial weakness
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
Angiogram (arteriogram). California Pacific Medical Center website. Available at:
http://www.cpmc.org/learning/documents/ir-angioarterio-ws.pdf. Updated 2013. Accessed March 3, 2015.
Angiogram. VascularWeb website. Available at:
http://www.vascularweb.org/vascularhealth/Pages/angiogram.aspx. Updated January 2011. Accessed March 3, 2015.
MR angiography (MRA). Radiological Society of North America Radiology Info website. Available at:
http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=angiomr. Updated August 27, 2013. Accessed March 3, 2015.
Stroke diagnosis. American Stroke Association website. Available at:
http://www.strokeassociation.org/STROKEORG/AboutStroke/Diagnosis/Diagnosis_UCM_310890_Article.jsp. Updated November 21, 2012. Accessed March 3, 2015.
Last reviewed March 2015 by Michael J. Fucci, DO, FACC; Brian Randall, MD
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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