Mercy Regional Health Center
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Angiogram

What is an angiogram?
What happens during the exam?
How should I prepare for the procedure?
What should I wear?
What happens after the test?
What will I experience during the exam?
Who interprets the results and how do I get them?

 

What is an angiogram?
An angiogram is a type of x-ray that captures images of blood vessels in various parts of the body — including the heart, brain and kidneys — to determine whether the vessels are diseased, narrowed, enlarged or blocked.

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What happens during the exam?
After passing a catheter through an artery leading to the area of interest, a contrast agent is injected to highlight the vessels when x-rays are taken.

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How should I prepare for the procedure?
If you are going to have a sedative before the procedure, you may be asked not to eat or drink anything (except sips of water to take pills) for four to eight hours ahead of time. Be sure that you have clear instructions from your physician.

You will probably receive an intravenous (IV) sedative in preparation for angiography, and must not drive for 24 hours after the procedure. Because an observation period is necessary before you can leave, you may be admitted to the hospital for an overnight stay if you live more than an hour away. If you will be going home the same day, you should arrange for someone to pick you up from the hospital.

Before the procedure, a small amount of blood will be drawn to make sure your kidneys are working and that your blood will clot normally. An IV line will also be set up.

Women should always inform their doctor if there is any possibility that they are pregnant.

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What should I wear?
Most patients are asked to wear a hospital gown for the exam. You should also remove all jewelry.

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What happens after the test?
Once all the pictures are taken, the catheter will be removed and pressure will be applied to the area for 20 minutes. You will then be asked to lie still for six hours, not bending your leg or lifting your head. This is so the area where the artery was punctured has time to heal.

You may resume your diet and will be encouraged to drink plenty of fluids to help flush the dye from your system.

If you experience any oozing or bleeding from the area, please call your nurse immediately. You may experience a little lump at the site of the puncture. This is normal.

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What will I experience during the exam?
The injection of a local anesthetic may sting briefly but makes the rest of the procedure pain-free. You may not feel the catheter in your artery, but when the contrast agent is injected you may have a feeling of warmth or, occasionally, a slight burning sensation. The most difficult part of the procedure may be lying flat for several hours.

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Who interprets the results and how do I get them?
The radiologist will examine the images and report the findings to your physician, who will discuss them with you.

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