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Arteriogram of Legs

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jan 5, 2023.

What do I need to know about an arteriogram of my legs?

An arteriogram is a minimally invasive test that finds narrow or blocked arteries in your legs. X-rays and contrast liquid help your healthcare provider see the arteries better. Procedures called angioplasty or stent placement may also be done during an arteriogram. Angioplasty uses a balloon to open blocked or narrow arteries. Stent placement means placing a small wire tube in the blocked artery to keep it open. An arteriogram is also called angiogram.

How do I prepare for an arteriogram?

Your healthcare provider may tell you to not eat or drink 4 to 8 hours before your procedure. You may be asked to remove jewelry, dentures and dental bridges, and metal objects. These items may cause problems with the x-ray pictures. Arrange to have someone drive you home. If you get medicine to help you relax, you should not drive for 24 hours after your procedure.

What will happen during an arteriogram?

  • Blood tests will be done to make sure your kidneys are functioning properly. The tests will also make sure you do not have a blood clotting problem.
  • A sedative will be given to decrease your anxiety and help you relax. A local anesthetic is given in your groin where an incision will be made. Your healthcare provider will make a small incision and place a small catheter (long, thin tube) into an artery. The catheter is slowly pushed through to the problem area. Contrast liquid is injected into the catheter to reach the area. You may feel warm as the contrast liquid is put into the catheter. Several x-rays are taken to help healthcare providers identify the problem and possibly fix it. The catheter is removed. A pressure bandage or pressure device is placed on the insertion site to prevent bleeding.

What will happen after an arteriogram?

You will go to a room and healthcare providers will monitor you for bleeding. The pressure device will be removed. You will be asked to move your leg. Your leg may be a little sore near the groin incision.

What are the risks of an arteriogram?

Rarely, the catheter damages the artery. You may have an allergic reaction to the contrast liquid used.

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 healthcare providers 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.

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Further information

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