How To Prepare continued...
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
Also before the angiogram you may have other blood tests,
such as blood clotting (coagulation) studies, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), and
You will need to sign a consent form that says you
understand the risks of an angiogram and agree to have the test 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 is done by a
radiologist. The radiologist may be helped by another
doctor, 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.
You will likely have
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.
You will lie on your back on
an X-ray table. Ask for a pad or blanket to make yourself comfortable. A strap,
tape, or sandbags may be used to hold your body still. A lead apron may be
placed under your genital and pelvic areas to protect them from X-ray
A round cylinder or rectangular box that takes the
pictures during fluoroscopy will be moved above you. The fluoroscope will move
under you during the test.
The place where the catheter will be
inserted (in the groin or above the elbow) will be shaved and cleaned. Your
doctor will numb the area with a
local anesthetic. Then he or she will put a needle
into the blood vessel. A guide wire will be put through the needle into the
blood vessel and the needle will be removed. The catheter will be placed over
the guide wire and moved into the blood vessel. The catheter will be guided
through the blood vessels until the tip is in the area to be studied. Your
doctor will use the fluoroscope to watch the movement of the catheter in the