About the Arteriogram Procedure
An arteriogram is a special X-ray examination of your arteries. An interventional radiologist performs this X-ray by inserting a catheter, or thin tube, into one of your arteries through a tiny hole the size of a pencil tip. Contrast, which is X-ray dye, is then injected into the artery while X-ray pictures are taken. Arteriograms can accurately detect problems in blood vessels in and around the brain, lungs, heart, kidney, stomach, arms, and legs. The arteriogram helps the radiologist and your doctor plan the best treatment for you.
One of the most common reasons for an arteriogram is to find out if there is an artery blockage that is causing your symptoms. An arteriogram can determine the exact location, severity, and cause of the blockage. Arteriograms are also used to diagnose difficult problems not resolved by other tests, or to determine the best surgical procedure to treat a condition.
How to Prepare for an Arteriogram Procedure:
If you are a patient in the hospital, your nurse or doctor will give you specific instructions. If you are being admitted to the hospital on the morning of your procedure, follow these simple instructions:
- Do not eat any solid foods after midnight on the night before your procedure. You may drink clear fluids
- Continue to take your medications unless your doctor tells you otherwise
- If you are diabetic and take insulin, ask your doctor about the dosing
- If you take a blood thinner such as Coumadin, you must tell the doctor so it can be stopped temporarily. Bring all your medication with you
- If you know you are allergic to contrast or iodine, let your doctor know as soon as possible. The Interventional Radiology Department also needs to know a few days in advance so precautions can be taken prior to the procedure
- Do not smoke for at least 24 hours before your procedure
During Your Arteriogram Procedure:
An arteriogram has three major steps: the insertion of a small catheter into the artery, the injection of contrast with X-ray pictures and the removal of the catheter.
Most often, the femoral artery in your groin is used to do the study. The area is washed with brown soap and a sterile drape is placed over it. You will feel a small pinch when the doctor is using Lidocaine, a medication that numbs the area. After that you should not feel pain, but you may feel some pressure.
During the procedure, IV contrast is used to highlight the vessels. This might result in a feeling of heat circulating through your body.
When the procedure is completed and the doctor feels that he or she has enough pictures, the catheter will be removed from your groin and firm pressure will be applied for about ten minutes to ensure the artery is not bleeding. You will be asked to lie flat for six hours to prevent the artery from bleeding.
After Your Arteriogram Procedure:
The interventional radiologist will discuss the results of your examination with your physician. You will return to your hospital room, and the nursing staff will help make you comfortable for the next several hours. You will be required to lie flat or with one pillow for the next several hours. If you are going home the same day, you should have a family member or friend drive you.
Once at home:
- Resume your medications
- Relax for the next 24 hours
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Resume your regular diet
- Keep a band-aid on the site for 24 hours
- Do not perform any strenuous activity or lifting for two days
- Do not take a hot bath for 12 hours
Call your doctor immediately if:
- Bleeding occurs where the catheter was inserted. If you start to bleed, lie down flat and apply heavy pressure with your hand over the area
- If you notice numbness, coolness or a change in color or temperature in the area where the catheter was placed
Arteriograms are safe and complications are infrequent. However, placing a catheter in your artery will result in bleeding. You may develop a small bruise or a small lump that will be sore but will go away in a few days. There are some patients who may become ill from contrast. Patients with kidney disease, diabetes, asthma, or allergic reactions to contract should have a follow-up appointment with their physician soon after the procedure.
- Jersey Shore University Medical Center, 1945 Route 33, Neptune, NJ 07753
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