Arteriogram (angiogram)

What is an arteriogram?

An arteriogram is also called an angiogram. An arteriogram is an x-ray image of the blood vessels used to evaluate various vascular conditions, such as an aneurysm (ballooning of a blood vessel), stenosis (narrowing of a blood vessel), or blockages.

How is an arteriogram performed?

In order to obtain an x-ray image of a blood vessel, an intravenous (IV) access is necessary so that a contrast dye can be injected into the body's circulatory system. This contrast dye causes the blood vessels to appear opaque on the x-ray image. This allows the physician to better visualize the structure of the vessel(s) under examination.

Many arteries of the blood can be examined by an arteriogram, including arterial systems of the legs, kidneys, brain, and heart.

Although each hospital may have specific protocols in place, generally, an arteriogram procedure follows this process:

  1. The patient is positioned on the x-ray table.
  2. An intravenous line is inserted into a vein in the patient's arm.
  3. The patient is connected to an EKG monitor that records the electrical activity of the heart and monitors the heart during the procedure using small, adhesive, electrode patches.
  4. A small incision is made in the arm or groin, into which a small catheter is inserted.
  5. The catheter is threaded into the desired vein or artery.
  6. An injection of contrast material is given.
  7. With the catheter in place, a series of x-rays are taken.
  8. The catheter is then removed and pressure is applied over the area to keep the artery from bleeding.
  9. The patient remains flat in bed in a recovery room for several hours after the procedure.
  10. Once at home, the patient should monitor the incision for bleeding, unusual pain, swelling, and abnormal discoloration or temperature change in the arm or leg of the puncture site. A small bruise is normal. The patient may be advised not to do any strenuous activities or take a hot bath or shower for at least 12 hours.