Skip to Content



What do I need to know about an angiogram?

An angiogram is used to examine blood flow through your arteries. Arteries carry blood from your heart to your body.

How do I prepare for the procedure?

Your healthcare provider will tell you how to prepare for your procedure. He may tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of your procedure. He will tell you what medicines to take or not take on the day of your procedure. Contrast liquid will be used during the procedure to help your arteries show up better in the pictures. Tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. Arrange to have someone drive you home after your procedure.

What will happen during the 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.
  • A 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 being studied. Contrast liquid is put through the catheter to help your blood vessels and organs show up better in the x-ray pictures. You may feel warm as the liquid is put into the catheter. You may get a headache or feel nauseated. These feelings should go away quickly.
  • Your healthcare providers will remove the catheter and apply pressure to the wound for several minutes. They will place a pressure bandage over the wound. They may place a sandbag over the wound to stop the bleeding.

What will happen after the procedure?

You will be on a heart monitor until you are fully awake. A heart monitor continuously records the electrical activity of your heart. Healthcare providers will frequently monitor your vital signs and pulses. They will also frequently check your wound for bleeding. Keep your leg straight. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. After you are monitored for several hours, you may be able to go home.

What are the risks of the procedure?

  • 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 could have kidney problems from the contrast liquid. You could have an allergic reaction to the contrast liquid 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.

Care Agreement

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. 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.

© 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.