Angiography is an image test of blood vessels. A special dye called contrast is used with the test. It will make the blood vessels easier to see.
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Angiography may be done to:
Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over problems that could happen, such as:
Things that may raise the risk of problems are:
The doctor may meet with you to talk about:
The doctor will give local anesthesia—the area will be numbed. Other medicine may help you relax.
A small incision will be made in the groin, upper thigh, arm, or neck. A catheter (tube) will be passed through the incision into a blood vessel. The tube will be passed through blood vessels to the problem area. A contrast dye will be passed through the tube. It will highlight the blood vessels on a screen in the room. The tube will be removed. Pressure will be applied to the insertion site for a few minutes. A bandage will be placed over the site.
Less than an hour. It can take longer if the doctor fixes any problems at the same time.
It should not hurt. There may be:
You will need to lie flat for some time. It will help to stop bleeding at the insertion site.
Most can go home the same day. The stay will be longer if there are problems.
Most can return to normal activity within a couple of days.
The doctor will talk to you about the results. You may need further testing or treatment.
Call your doctor if you have:
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American Heart Association
Radiology Info—Radiological Society of North America
The College of Family Physicians of Canada
Angiogram. Society for Vascular Surgery website. Available at: https://vascular.org/patient-resources/vascular-tests/angiogram. Accessed August 25, 2021.
Catheter angiography. Radiology Info—Radiological Society of North America website. Available at: https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info/angiocath. Accessed August 25, 2021.
Coronary angiography. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/coronary-angiography . Accessed August 25, 2021.
Diagnostic cardiac catheterization and coronary angiography. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/evaluation/diagnostic-cardiac-catheterization-and-coronary-angiography. Accessed August 25, 2021.
Novak JE, Handa R. Contrast nephropathy associated with percutaneous coronary angiography and intervention. Cardiol Clin. 2019;37(3):287-296.
Last reviewed July 2021 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Nicole Meregian, PA
Last Updated: 8/25/2021