(Catheter Angiography; Arteriography; Angiogram)
by Laurie Rosenblum
An angiography is an x-ray exam of the blood vessels. The exam uses a chemical that is injected into the blood vessels. The chemical makes the blood vessels easier to see on the x-ray.
Reasons for Procedure
This procedure may be done to:
In some cases, a blocked blood vessel can be treated during the procedure. This would prevent the need for another procedure.
Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
Before the test, your doctor may:
You will need to arrange for a ride to and from the procedure.
A local anesthesia will be injected into your arm or groin. A small dose of sedative may also be given by IV.
Description of the Procedure
An area of your groin or arm will be cleaned. This is where a catheter will be inserted. A small incision will be made into your skin. The catheter will be placed through the incision into an artery. The catheter will be guided through the arteries to the area to be examined. The contrast material is injected through the catheter. The procedure will be viewed on a nearby monitor. Several sets of x-rays will be taken. The catheter will then be removed. Pressure will be applied to the area for about 10 minutes.
How Long Will It Take?
Less than an hour to several hours. It depends on whether the doctor decides to fix any problems at the same time.
How Much Will It Hurt?
Although the procedure is not painful, you may feel:
At the Care Center
Immediately following the procedure:
When you return home after the procedure, be sure to follow your doctor's instructions.
The doctor will examine the x-rays. Your doctor will discuss the findings and any necessary treatment options with you.
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.
Catheter angiography. Radiology Info—Radiological Society of North America website. Available at: https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=angiocath. Updated January 20, 2018. Accessed March 1, 2018.
Coronary angiography. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/coronary-angiography. Accessed March 1, 2018.
Last reviewed March 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael J. Fucci, DO
Last Updated: 5/2/2014
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at email@example.com. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.