by Sarah J. Kerr, BA
An arteriogram is a test allows the arteries to be viewed on an x-ray. A contrast dye is injected into the arteries to make them visible. The test makes images that can be used to diagnose and treat problems in the arteries.
Reasons for Test
An arteriogram is done to check the arteries for narrowing, bulging, or blockages. These could be signs of disease.
This test could be done to diagnose conditions such as:
Sometimes, found during the arteriogram may be treated. A clot may be dissolved or angioplasty with or without stenting may be done.
Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
At your appointment before the test, your doctor will likely:
In the days before your procedure, you will need to:
Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your procedure.
You will have an IV placed in your arm to give you medications. These medications will make you feel sleepy and comfortable.
Description of the Procedure
For this procedure, you will have a catheter placed in your groin or elbow so that the contrast dye can be injected. The skin where the catheter will be placed will be cleaned. A tiny cut will be made. A hollow needle will be inserted into the artery. A thin wire will be placed into the artery. The catheter will be threaded over the wire, and the wire will be removed.
The catheter will be used to inject a contrast dye into your artery. The dye may cause you to feel warm or flushed for a few moments. X-rays will be taken to see how the contrast dye is moving through your arteries. You will need to lie still to prevent blurry images.
How Long Will It Take?
About 1 hour
Will It Hurt?
Although the procedure is not painful, you may feel:
After the test, the catheter will be removed. The IV will also be removed from your arm.
At the Care Center
Immediately following the procedure:
When you return home, be sure to follow all of your doctor's instructions.
Call Your Doctor
Call your doctor if any of these occur:
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services 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 March 1, 2018.
MR angiography (MRA). Radiology Info—Radiological Society of North America website. Available at: https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=angiomr. Updated April 1, 2017. Accessed March 1, 2018.
Stroke diagnosis. American Stroke Association website. Available at:
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Updated updated 23, 2017. Accessed March 1, 2018.
Last reviewed March 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael J. Fucci, DO, FACC
Last Updated: 3/18/2013
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