How It Is Done continued...
After the dye is put
in, a series of X-rays is taken of each section of the arm or leg or pelvis.
Your arm or leg may be placed in several different positions so that X-rays
from different views can be taken. If your doctor is placing an intravenous
(IV) line, X-rays will be taken as the line is put in to help guide it to the
After the X-rays are taken, your arm or leg will
be raised. A sterile salt solution (saline) may be put into the vein to help
flush out the dye. Heparin, a blood thinner, may be put into the vein to
prevent a blood clot. A small bandage will be placed on the IV site. Drink
extra fluids after the test to help flush the dye out of your body.
This test usually takes 30 to 45 minutes.
How It Feels
You will feel a quick sting or pinch
when the numbing medicine is given. When the dye is put into the vein, you may
feel a warm flush or have a metallic taste in your mouth.
feel like your arm or leg is going to sleep during the test. This goes away
after the test.
There is some risk of problems with a
- There is a small risk of developing an
allergic reaction to the dye.
- There is a
small risk of infection or damage to the veins being studied. In rare cases, a
venogram can cause a
deep vein thrombosis.
- There is a risk of
kidney problems if you take metformin (Glucophage) to control your
- There is always a slight chance
of damage to cells or tissue from radiation, including the low levels of
radiation used for this test. But the chance of damage from the X-rays is
usually very low compared with the benefits of the test.
After the test
In rare cases, a venogram can cause
an infection or a blood clot in the area studied. Call your doctor immediately
if you have:
- A fever.
- Increasing pain,
redness, or swelling in the arm or leg studied.
A venogram is an
X-ray test that takes pictures of the blood flow
through the veins in a certain area of the body.
Normal test results show that the dye moved quickly and
evenly through the veins. Abnormal test results show that the flow of dye was slowed or blocked. This might mean that a blood clot, or another problem such as damage in the vein, is blocking or slowing blood flow.1
What Affects the Test
Reasons you may not be able to
have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:
- Pregnancy. A venogram is not usually done
during pregnancy because the radiation from the X-rays could harm the
unborn baby (fetus).
- The inability to stay
still during the test.
Arm or leg venogram
- Putting any weight on the leg being tested
may stop the dye from moving through the leg veins properly.
your arm or leg may affect how the dye moves.
- In rare cases, foot
veins are too small to put the dye into for the test.