Reasons you may not be able to
have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:
Being pregnant. An angiogram is not usually
done during pregnancy because the radiation could damage the developing baby
Blockage or curving of the blood
vessels caused by
high blood pressure, or aging. This may make it hard
to guide the catheter through the blood vessels or hard to inject the
Not being able to lie still during the test.
What To Think About
A magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA) or
computed tomography angiogram (CTA) may be an option instead of an angiogram.
Each of these tests is less invasive than a standard angiogram. Some MRA tests
and all CTA tests require an injection of dye. A CTA also involves radiation
exposure. Some surgeons may want results
from a standard angiogram before doing surgery to repair a damaged or abnormal
For people with kidney problems,
dehydration, steps are taken to prevent kidney damage.
Less dye may be used or more fluids may be given before, during, and after the
test. If you have a history of kidney problems, other blood tests (creatinine,
blood urea nitrogen) may be done before an angiogram to make sure that your
kidneys are working well.
In rare cases, surgery may be needed to repair a hole in the
blood vessel where the catheter was placed. There is also a substance that can be used to help plug the hole in the vessel and stop the
bleeding. The substance used to plug the hole in the vessel is normally
absorbed by the body over several months.
Other angiogram tests can
be done, including:
A four-vessel study. The catheter is placed
in each of the four arteries carrying blood to the head and neck (two carotid
arteries and two vertebral arteries).
An arch study. The catheter
is pulled back from the head and neck area until the tip is at the large artery
(aorta) where it leaves the heart. This study lets your doctor check the
arteries where they branch off the aorta.
Other Works Consulted
Chernecky CC, Berger BJ (2008). Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures, 5th ed. St. Louis: Saunders.
Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby’s Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.
Primary Medical Reviewer
Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology