Learning About Your Health
Angiogram (Arteriogram)Printer-friendly PDF of AngiogramOpens new window (79KB)
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- What is an Angiogram?
- What Can I Expect While at California Pacific Medical Center?
- During the Procedure
- After The Procedure
- More Ways to Learn
What is an Angiogram?
An angiogram is a study of selected blood vessels using x-ray technology. Most often, angiograms are done to study arteries, the blood vessels that carry blood away from your heart. Angiography is performed by a physician called an Interventional Radiologist (IR) in the Department of Radiology. During this test, the IR uses a very small needle, a catheter (a floppy tube the width of a piece of spaghetti), and highly specialized x-ray equipment to take very detailed "pictures" of selected blood vessels. IRs, surgeons, and other specialists use these “pictures” to guide them when they treat a blockage or narrowing that is decreasing the flow of blood to an important part of the body, like your kidneys. Other areas of study include your arms, legs, liver, head, and neck.
Special Note: Anticoagulants (blood thinning medications) must be stopped at least 3-4 days before your scheduled arteriogram. Examples are Vitamin E, and Coumadin. In addition, Diabetes medications: Glucophage/Metformin or Glucovance must be stopped 24 hours BEFORE the procedure and re-started 48 hours AFTER the procedure. Please be sure to consult your doctor if you take any of these medications.
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What Can I Expect While at California Pacific Medical Center?
- Pre-registration is a two-step process that you must complete before having a surgery, test, or procedure at California Pacific Medical Center.
- Health History. Please call (415) 600-2500 within 1- 2 weeks before your procedure to speak with a Pre-admission Testing nurse who will take your health history, answer your questions, and explain what testing is necessary before your surgery, test, or procedure.
Based on your health status, the nurse may send you to complete any required testing before you come to the hospital. The nurse will tell you where you can go for your test(s).
- Pre-Registration. The nurse will connect you to the Patient Access Center to complete the pre-registration process. Please be sure to have your insurance card information ready when you begin.
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During the Procedure
- During the angiogram, you will be placed on monitors that measure your blood pressure, pulse, and oxygen level.
- Next, the IR will: a) inject a small amount of local anesthetic around either the femoral (groin) or brachial (arm) artery, b) insert a small plastic tube into this area, and c) position the tip of the tube in the vessel supplying blood to the area being studied. A liquid, or contrast, is injected through the tube and makes the vessel visible. After the injection, you may feel a warm flush as the contrast travels through your system. This feeling always passes quickly. Please be sure to let the staff know if you have had a previous allergic reaction to the x-ray contrast.
- Then, the IR will take x-ray pictures that will record obstructions and narrowings of the arteries under examination. It is very important to hold still while the x-ray pictures are being taken. The final results of your test will be given to you by your primary doctor or surgeon later that day or in a follow-up office visit.
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After The Procedure
Once the procedure is completed, the radiologist removes the catheter and applies pressure to the catheter entry site for 15 - 20 minutes to prevent bleeding. You will return to the ACU on a gurney.
- In the ACU your nurse will ask you to lie still without bending your leg for 2 to 4 hours after the procedure.
- In the ACU your nurse will monitor your pulse, blood pressure, and check your arteriogram puncture site for any bleeding or bruising.
- You may eat as soon as you feel up to it.
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More Ways to Learn
- Visit the Society Of Interventional RadiologyOpens new window Web site.
- Contact the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at California Pacific Medical Center by calling (415) 600-3361.
Produced by the staff and physicians at California Pacific Medical Center in association with the Center for Patient and Community Education. Last updated: 03/15
Note: This information is not meant to replace any information or personal medical advice which you get directly from your doctor(s). If you have any questions about this information, such as the risks or benefits of the treatment listed, please ask your doctor(s).
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