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Angiogram

How To Prepare

Before an angiogram, tell your doctor if you:

  • Are or might be pregnant.
  • Are breast-feeding. Use formula (throw out your breast milk) for 1 to 2 days after the angiogram until the dye has passed from your body. This generally takes 24 hours.
  • Are allergic to iodine dye used in the test.
  • Have ever had a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) from any substance, such as the venom from a bee sting or from eating shellfish.
  • Have asthma.
  • Are allergic to any medicines.
  • Have any bleeding problems or are taking blood-thinning medicines.
  • Have a history of kidney problems or diabetes, especially if you take metformin (such as Glucophage) to control your diabetes. The dye used during an angiogram can cause kidney damage in people who have poor kidney function.

Do not eat or drink for 4 to 8 hours before the angiogram. You may be asked to not take aspirin, aspirin products, or blood thinners for several days before the test and for 1 day after the test. If you take these medicines, talk with your doctor.

An angiogram can be done as an inpatient or outpatient. If you are an outpatient, you will stay in a recovery room for several hours before you go home. You may want to bring something to do or read to pass the time. Arrange to have someone take you home because you may get a sedative before the test. If you stay overnight in the hospital, you will probably go home the next day.

The test may take several hours, so you will empty your bladder just before it begins.

Also before the angiogram you may have other blood tests, such as blood clotting (coagulation) studies, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), and creatinine.

You will be asked to sign a consent form that says you understand the risks of the test and agree to have it done.

Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).

How It Is Done

An angiogram camera.gif can be done by different types of doctors, including a radiologist, cardiologist, or surgeon. Your doctor may be helped by a radiology technologist or a nurse.

You will need to take off any jewelry. You may need to take off all or most of your clothes. You will be given a gown to wear during the test.

During the test

You will likely have an intravenous (IV) line in a vein in your arm so your doctor can give you medicine or fluids if needed. A device called a pulse oximeter, which measures oxygen levels in your blood, may be clipped to your finger or ear. Small discs (electrodes) are placed on your arms, chest, or legs to record your heart rate and rhythm.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 27, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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