What’s an Angiogram?

Has your doctor ordered an angiogram? If so, you may have questions about the procedure itself or what information it provides to your doctor. Angiograms are routine tests that doctors use to get a better look at the arteries near the heart, lungs, brain, neck, legs and arms. The X-ray test uses a camera to take photos of the blood flow into certain arteries. Contrast dye highlights the area of study to make the vessels show up on the images.

What Does It Show?
Angiograms are helpful in locating and diagnosing problems with the arteries, such as narrowed arteries, blocked blood vessels or aneurysms. The test can detect tears in the vessels that can cause internal bleeding, and it can diagnose peripheral artery disease in the legs or arms.

How Does It Work?
A catheter is a thin, flexible tube that is inserted into a large blood vessel in the groin area. The radiologist moves the catheter toward the area that needs further study while injecting the contrast iodine dye. During the test, the radiologist takes several pictures of the artery. These images will be sent to your doctor.

What Do I Do to Prepare?
Before the test, talk to your doctor about any medications you’re currently taking or if you have known allergies to iodine or medications. You won’t be allowed to eat or drink for about eight hours before the test. Bring a book or something to do to pass the time, since you will be in the recovery room for a few hours after the procedure. Make sure you have a ride home, since you may be sedated for the test.

At the doctor’s office or hospital, you’ll be given a hospital gown to change into. Take off any jewelry before the start of the procedure. The doctor will have you lie on an exam table and you may have your legs restrained to prevent movement during the procedure. A local anesthetic will numb the area where the catheter is going to be inserted.

Does It Hurt?
It might pinch as the needle or catheter is being inserted, but the local anesthetic should relive most of the discomfort. Most patients report feeling some pressure in the area where the catheter is located. Let the doctor know if you feel pain.

Our Advantx LCA interventional angiography system helps us to view possibly life-threatening issues and treat them right away. For more information on the specific tests we offer, visit St. Petersburg General Hospital online or contact the radiology department at 727-341-4853.

Sources:

St. Petersburg General Hospital

American Heart Association

 

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