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Angiogram of the Lung

An angiogram of the lung is an X-ray test that uses a special dye and camera (fluoroscopy) to take pictures of the blood flow in the blood vessels of the lung camera.gif.

During an angiogram, a thin tube called a catheter is placed into a femoral blood vessel camera.gif in the groin (femoral vein) or just above the elbow (brachial vein). The catheter is guided to the area to be studied. Then an iodine dye (contrast material) is injected into the vessel to make the area show clearly on the X-ray pictures. The angiogram pictures can be made into regular X-ray films or stored as digital pictures in a computer.

A lung (pulmonary) angiogram is used to check the arteries that lead to the lungs (pulmonary arteries) and the blood vessels in the lungs. It can also find narrowing or a blockage in a blood vessel that slows or stops blood flow.

Why It Is Done

A lung angiogram may be done to measure the pressure in the blood vessels carrying blood to the lungs, to look for lung problems, or to find other causes of blockage or narrowing of the vessels.

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?).

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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