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What you need to know about angiography:

Angiography is a procedure to look at blood vessels in your body. Angiography can be used to look for narrowing, a blockage, or problems with your blood vessels. It can also be used to check blood flow to organs such as your heart, lungs, or kidneys. Angiography can help your healthcare provider diagnose or treat a medical condition.

How to prepare for angiography:

Your healthcare provider will tell you what medicines to take or not take on the day of your procedure. He may tell you not to eat or drink anything for 2 hours before your procedure. Tell your healthcare provider if you think you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or if you have ever had a reaction to contrast liquid.

What will happen during angiography:

Your healthcare provider will insert a catheter into a vessel in your groin. He may slowly move the catheter to the area where the picture will be taken and inject a contrast liquid. The liquid helps the pictures show up more clearly. You may feel a warm sensation when the contrast liquid is injected. You will need to lie still when the pictures are taken.

What will happen after angiography:

Your healthcare provider will remove the catheter and place pressure where the catheter was inserted. Rest for 2 to 6 hours after the test, and do not bend where the catheter was placed.

Risks of angiography:

Angiography may increase your risk for bleeding, infection, or a blood clot. You may have an allergic reaction to the contrast liquid. The reaction may include nausea, vomiting, a rash, or abdominal pain. In rare cases, a reaction may lead to heart or kidney problems, or become life-threatening.

Seek care immediately if:

You have any of the following signs of an allergic reaction to the contrast liquid:

  • Chest pain or trouble breathing
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Swelling of your mouth or face
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sudden decrease in urination
  • A rash, itching, or swollen skin

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have pain or bleeding where the catheter was inserted.
  • You have signs of an infection, such as redness and swelling at the injection site.
  • You have numbness or tingling in an arm or leg.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Drink liquids as directed:

Liquids will help flush the contrast liquid out of your body. Ask how much liquid to drink after your procedure, and which liquids to drink.


You may need to rest and avoid moving the area where the catheter was inserted. Too much activity may increase your risk for bleeding. Ask your healthcare provider when you can return to normal activities.

Follow up with your doctor as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.