Learning About Your Health
Angiogram (Arteriogram)Printer-friendly PDF of AngiogramOpens new window (79KB)
(Download a free copy of Adobe Acrobat ReaderOpens new window)
- 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.
Back to top
What Can I Expect While at California Pacific Medical Center?
- Please call us at (415) 600-2500 to speak with an admitting representative as soon as your procedure is scheduled. The admitting staff works to help you complete any necessary registration forms and insurance information by phone.
- You may not eat or drink anything after midnight, the night before your angiogram, unless otherwise directed by your doctor. However, you MAY continue to take your routine medications, such as heart & blood pressure medications, with only a sip of water.
- On the day of your scheduled angiogram, come to the Ambulatory Care Unit, located at 2351 Clay Street, 6th Floor, at least 2 hours before your scheduled procedure. (Note: Non-English speaking patients are encouraged to come with an English speaking family member or translator.)
- Parking is available at 2405 Clay Street (cross street is Webster).
- Bring a list of any medications you are taking and your insurance information. You may have blood tests taken if needed.
- An IV (intravenous line) will be placed in your arm. The IV is needed to give you medications during your procedure to help you relax and make sure that you are comfortable.
- In Radiology, the IR will explain the procedure to you and ask you to sign a consent form stating that you understand the procedure you are having. This is a good time for you to ask questions and to share any concerns you may have.
Back to top
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.
Back to top
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.
Back to top
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 Center for Patient and Community Education in association with the staff and physicians at California Pacific Medical Center. Last updated: 9/07
Funded by: A generous donation from the Mr. and Mrs. Arthur A. Ciocca Foundation.
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).
Back to top