Skip to Content



An angiogram is used to examine blood flow through your arteries. Arteries carry blood from your heart to your body. Your healthcare provider will use x-rays to see the blood flow.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.


  • You may bleed heavily after your catheter is removed. The catheter may damage your artery, and you may need surgery to fix the damage. You may have fluid buildup in your lungs that leads to difficulty breathing. You could have kidney problems from the dye. You could have an allergic reaction to the dye or numbing medicine.

  • You may develop a blood clot that causes pain and swelling, and stops blood from flowing. A blood clot in your leg can break loose and travel to your lungs and become life-threatening.


Before your procedure:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

  • Blood tests: You may need blood taken to give caregivers information about how your body is working. The blood may be taken from your hand, arm, or IV.

  • Chest x-ray: This is a picture of your lungs and heart. Caregivers use it to see how your lungs and heart are doing. Caregivers may use the x-ray to look for signs of infection like pneumonia, or to look for collapsed lungs. Chest x-rays may show tumors, broken ribs, or fluid around the heart and lungs.

  • Circulation checks are done to make sure you have good blood flow. Your pulse will be checked in your wrists, feet, or ankles. Healthcare providers may mark the spots on your legs and feet where the pulse is the strongest. Healthcare providers may also take a blood pressure reading in both arms or both legs.

  • A Foley catheter is a tube put into your bladder to drain urine into a bag. Keep the bag below your waist. This will prevent urine from flowing back into your bladder and causing an infection or other problems. Also, keep the tube free of kinks so the urine will drain properly. Do not pull on the catheter. This can cause pain and bleeding, and may cause the catheter to come out.

  • Heart monitor: This is also called an ECG or EKG. Sticky pads placed on your skin record your heart's electrical activity.

  • An IV is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.

  • Medicine may be given right before the procedure to make you feel sleepy and more relaxed.

During your procedure:

  • You may be given medicine to help you relax or make you drowsy. You may get local anesthesia to numb the area where the angiogram catheter will go in. Hair may be removed from the procedure site.

  • The angiogram catheter will be put into an artery in your leg near your groin, or in your arm. The catheter travels through the artery to the area in the body that is being studied. Contrast liquid is put through the catheter to help your blood vessels and organs show up better. You may feel warm as the liquid is put into the catheter. You may get a headache or feel nauseated. These are normal feelings that will go away quickly.

After your procedure:

  • Firm pressure will be applied for at least 10 minutes at the catheter site to prevent bleeding. Healthcare provider may place a tight pressure bandage or sandbag over the puncture site. The sandbag will stay in place for 2 or more hours. A collagen plug, stitches, or another device may be used to close the puncture site in your artery. You may be able to move around in bed sooner with these devices.

  • You may need to lie flat and keep your arm or leg straight for several hours after your angiogram. Follow your healthcare provider's instructions carefully. Movement too soon after an angiogram may cause serious problems. Do not lift your head, raise the head or foot of your bed, or get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. Tell your healthcare provider if lying flat starts to cause back discomfort. If there is no bleeding, your healthcare provider may help you roll onto your side.

  • You must use a bedpan or a urinal until you are able to get out of bed and go to the bathroom. If you are unable to use a bedpan or urinal, a Foley catheter may be placed in your bladder. This catheter allows urine to drain from your bladder into a collection bag.

  • When you are allowed out of bed, get up slowly. If you feel weak or dizzy, sit or lie down right away. Then call your healthcare provider.

  • Healthcare providers will watch you closely for problems that can happen after an angiogram. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any of the following:

    • Chest pain, pressure, or tightness

    • Leg or arm that feels unusually hot or cold, hurts or feels numb, or changes color

    • Swelling or wetness at the puncture site

    • Pain in your back, thigh, or groin

    • Nausea or heavy sweating

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.