What is angiography?
Angiography is a way to produce X-ray pictures of the inside of blood vessels. When blood vessels are blocked, damaged or abnormal in any way, chest pain, heart attack, stroke or other problems may occur. Angiography helps your physician determine the source of the problem and the extent of damage to the blood vessel segments that are being examined.
Before the test
Lab work may be needed before the angiogram to determine your blood's ability to clot.
Please follow these guidelines after midnight the night before your test:
Always consult with your primary physician and/or physician requesting this test before discontinuing any medication. Here are some guidelines:
- Do NOT take any aspirin or any products containing aspirin.
- Do NOT take dipyridamole (Persantine) or warfarin (Coumadin) within 72 hours before the test, and 24 hours after the test. These medications are often referred to as blood thinning pills.
- DO take your other medications on schedule as usual, especially any medications for high blood pressure.
If you have diabetes
- Take half of your usual dose of insulin and eat a light breakfast before 6 a.m. When you arrive for your test, please be sure to remind the physician that you have diabetes and have eaten breakfast.
- Do NOT take Glucophage (metformin hydrochloride) for 48 hours before the test or 48 hours after the test to reduce the risk of kidney complications.
Eating and drinking
- Drink only clear liquids for breakfast the day of your test. Clear liquids include clear broth, tea, strained fruit juices, strained vegetable soup, black coffee, plain gelatin, tomato juice and ginger ale.
On the day of the test
Please make arrangements for transportation, as you should not drive until the day after the procedure.
Please do not bring valuables such as jewelry or credit cards.
You will meet with your physician and he or she will review further instructions and discuss any questions you may have. The physician will also review your medical history.
In almost all cases, laboratory tests ("blood work") will be needed, and your physician will need to study the results before beginning your angiography test. It may be several hours before the laboratory results are available.
Every effort will be made to perform your test at the scheduled time, but delays do occur. You may want to bring a book or magazine.
During the test
You may be asked to change into a hospital gown.
The test itself will take approximately 2 to 3 hours. Mild sedation may be given.
During angiography, a long slender tube called a catheter is inserted into a large artery (generally, in the groin area).
The catheter is slowly and carefully threaded through the artery until its tip reaches the segment of vessel to be examined by angiography.
A small amount of contrast material is injected into the blood vessel segment through the catheter, and X-rays are taken. The contrast agent enables the blood vessels to appear on the X-ray pictures.
A physician specially trained in angiography studies the X-ray pictures to determine the source of the problem and the extent of damage to the blood vessel segments that are examined.
After the test
You will be monitored for 4 to 6 hours. At that time, the radiology nurse will discuss post-angiogram instructions with you. You will be provided with a written form of these instructions-- please follow these at home.
A radiologist will evaluate you before you are discharged. Then your physician will discuss the test results with you.
If you have diabetes, do NOT take Glucophage (metformin hydrochloride) for 48 hours after the test to reduce the risk of kidney complications.
The evening after the test
We advise for your safety to spend a quiet, restful evening with a friend or relative in the immediate area. On rare occasions, it may be necessary for you to spend the night in the hospital.
Angiography allows your physician to view how blood circulates within vessels at specific locations in the body. This diagnostic test is used to locate the specific source of an abnormality in the neck, kidneys, legs or other sites.
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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.This document was last reviewed on: 1/24/2007...#4977