How It Is Done continued...
When the catheter is in place, the dye is injected
through it. You may be asked to take a breath and hold it for several seconds.
Several X-ray pictures will be taken one after another. These will be available
right away for your doctor to look at. You need to lie very still so the
pictures are clear. Sometimes only one lung is studied, or the process may be
repeated more than once for each lung. See a picture of
how an angiogram is done .
An angiogram takes 1 to 2 hours. The
catheter is taken out after the angiogram, and pressure is put on the needle
site for 10 to 15 minutes to stop any bleeding. A small sandbag or clamp may be
put on the site to hold pressure. A bandage is put on the site. You will be
given pain medicine if you need it.
The place in your hands and
feet where your heartbeat (peripheral pulse) can be felt may be marked with a
pen. Your pulse may be checked before and after the angiogram.
How It Feels
You may feel a brief sting or pinch from
the numbing medicine. Most people do not have pain when the catheter is in the
You may feel pressure in the blood vessel as the
catheter is moved. Let your doctor know if you are having pain.
You will probably feel some warmth when the dye is put in. This feeling
lasts only a few seconds. For some people, the feeling of heat is strong and
for others it is very mild.
You may feel a need to cough but try
to keep holding your breath until you are told to breathe.
have a headache, flushing of the face, or a salty or metallic taste in your
mouth after the dye is used. These feelings do not last long. Some people may
feel sick to their stomach or may vomit, but this is not common.
After the test, you may have some tenderness and bruising at the site
where the catheter was inserted.
You can drink extra fluids to
pass the dye from your body unless your doctor has told you not to.
The chance of any major problem from an
angiogram is very small, but some problems can occur. In most cases the
problems occur within 2 hours after the test when you are in the recovery room.
If the problem occurs during the angiogram, the test may not be completed. You
may need urgent treatment that could include surgery.
- There is a small chance of developing an
abnormal heartbeat. This usually lasts only a few
seconds and goes away without any other treatment.
- There is a
chance of an
allergic reaction to the iodine dye. The reaction can
be mild (itching, rash) or severe (trouble breathing or sudden shock). Most
reactions can be treated with medicines. Be sure to tell your doctor if you
asthma, or iodine allergy or food allergies.
- Bleeding from the needle site may occur. Also, a blood clot can
form where the catheter was inserted. This may cause some blockage of the blood
flow from the arm or leg.
- The iodine dye used for the test can cause water loss or direct
damage to the kidneys. This is a special concern for people who have kidney
problems, diabetes, or who are
dehydrated. Special measures are used during the test
to prevent problems for people who need an angiogram and have these
- There is always a small chance of damage to cells or
tissue from being exposed to any radiation, even the low level used for this