An Angiogram is a specialized x-ray procedure that looks at the arterial blood vessels to identify any abnormalities. The arteries most frequently examined are the arteries found in the legs, abdomen, head and neck.
The angiogram is done by placing a small catheter in a blood vessel, usually through a small nick in the skin. The catheter is placed in the artery that is to be examined, and the Interventional Radiologist injects a small amount of a contrast agent to make the arteries visible on X-ray.
If you have a blockage in the artery, the Interventional Radiologist will insert a small balloon attached to a catheter, into your artery. He will use X-ray to help guide the catheter to the area of the blockage. The balloon is inflated to open the artery up. Sometimes a tiny mesh-like tube, called a stent, is inserted to hold the blood vessel open. Once the artery has been enlarged, the balloon and catheter will be removed.
When your procedure is scheduled
- Our scheduler will give you a date and time to be at the hospital.
- You will be scheduled to arrive two hours prior to the procedure. This is to allow the admitting and nursing staff time to prepare you for your procedure.
If you take Coumadin, Plavix, Insulin or Metformin, please let the scheduler know so you can receive specialized instructions.
- Please notify us if you’ve had a previous reaction to contrast dye.
- The admitting department will call you the night before the procedure to confirm your arrival time.
- Please plan to leave any jewelry and valuables at home.
- Make sure that you have a ride home and will not be driving yourself.
- If you have any questions regarding your procedure you may call us at 425-688-5507
- Do not eat of drink for four hours before your exam.
- Please take your normal heart and blood pressure medications with a sip of water.
- You need to arrive at hospital admitting two hours prior to your procedure. Admitting is located in the hospital’s Main Lobby (across from Stanza’s).
- Your will be taken down to your room where you will meet your nurse. You will be asked to change into a patient gown, and then an IV will be started and blood will be drawn for lab tests. The nurse will ask you for your medical history. Bring a list of all medications you take and when you take them.
- The nurse will also ask you about allergies. If you are allergic to radiology/contrast dye please let them know.
- The nurse or tech will be shaving both groin areas.
If there is a possibility that you’re pregnant, please let the nurse know. You will be asked to sign a form if you are of childbearing age (12-57).
- Before the procedure, an interventional nurse will meet with you and your family in your room. He or she will review your procedure with you and answer any questions you might have.
- The procedure takes from one to three hours. You will meet the doctor who will go over the consent form and answer any questions you might still have.
- You will receive sedation medication during the procedure to help you relax.
- During the procedure you might feel warmth, tingling or flushing when you are given the contrast dye. This usually lasts about 10 seconds. During the procedure the nurse will be monitoring your heart, blood pressure and the oxygen level in your blood.
- Once the procedure is over you will be transferred back to your room. You may have a small catheter still in place in the artery in your groin.
After the Procedure
- The nurse or tech will remove the small catheter and apply pressure for at least 15 minutes.
- Your blood pressure, pulse and puncture site will be monitored frequently by the nurse.
- You will be encouraged to drink plenty of fluids to help wash the contrast out of your system. You will need to continue to drink fluids for the first 24 hours after your procedure, unless your physician has limited your fluid intake.
- You may be kept in the hospital for a 24-hour period for observation. Otherwise you will be discharged in six to eight hours.
- You will be given written instructions and a phone number to call if you have any questions or concerns.
- One of the interventional nurses will do a follow-up call the next week-day after your discharge. Write down any questions you might have for them.
To speak with an interventional nurse, please call 425-688-5005. It is best to call between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. You can leave a message on the voicemail, and a nurse will return your call as soon as they are able.
- If you are on Coumadin and have been told not to take it prior to your procedure, you need to check with your physician and/or the Anti-Coagulation Clinic for specific instructions.
If you are on Metformin/Glucophage, suspend usage for 48 hours after your procedure. Check with the physician who ordered it for when to resume taking it. Further lab work may be requested.
If you are an insulin-dependent diabetic, restart your regular dosing when you get home. Check your sugar regularly and if you have a concern, contact your diabetes doctor.
- You may resume taking all of your normal medications once you are home.