Fletcher Allen, a Vermont university hospital and medical center, serves all of
Vermont and the northern New York region. Located in Burlington, Fletcher Allen is a regional, academic healthcare center and teaching hospital in alliance with the University of Vermont.
An angiogram is an imaging test that uses x-rays and IV dye (contrast) to view your body’s blood vessels. Interventional Radiologists often use this test to study narrow, blocked, enlarged, or malformed arteries in many parts of your body, including your brain (cerebral angiogram), heart (coronary angiogram), abdomen (mesenteric angiogram), lungs (pulmonary angiogram), kidneys (renal angiogram) and legs (lower extremity angiogram). When the arteries are studied, the test is also called an arteriogram. If the veins are studied, it is called a venogram.
Since the aorta is the blood vessel from which most abdominal arteries originate, most of these exams begin with an aortogram. This allows localization of the various branch vessels and facilitates catheter placement for further study.
What happens during the procedure?
Conscious sedation is provided just prior to starting the procedure. You will lie flat on the x-ray table and be connected to several types of monitoring equipment. The technologist will prepare the skin over your groin by cleaning it with an antiseptic solution and placing sterile drapes and towels over you to create a sterile work space. Local anesthesia (lidocaine) is injected into the skin overlying the common femoral artery in the groin. The Interventional Radiologist accesses the femoral artery and injects dye to allow them to see the arteries that supply the area of interest. The dye causes a brief, mild warm feeling as it enters your bloodstream. During the test, the Interventional Radiologist may ask you to hold your breath for about 5 to 15 seconds. In addition, he may ask you to lie perfectly still to prevent sudden movements from blurring the x ray pictures.
When the procedure is completed the catheter is removed and pressure is applied over the artery until there is no bleeding (approximately 15min). This procedure typically requires 1 - 3 hours.
What happens after the procedure?
Since conscious sedation medicine was administered and the femoral artery was punctured, you will be required to stay to recover for 4-6 hours after the end of the procedure. While in recovery, you are monitored closely for signs of bleeding from the artery in the groin and ensure that the effects of the sedation have worn off. Patients must have a responsible adult available to drive/escort you home from the hospital.
Since the artery is a high pressure system, patients should refrain from lifting more than 10 lbs, refrain from strenuous activity or anything which causes abdominal distension for the following 48-72 hours. Any straining such as vomiting, coughing, forced bowel movements could dislodge the clot that forms to seal the artery and cause bleeding. If you note any signs of bleeding, such as bulging under the skin the size of a golf ball, put direct pressure to the area, call your doctor, and go to the nearest emergency room or call 911 for assistance.
Do not take a tub bath, go in a hot tub or submerge in water for 5 days. Leave the sterile dressing on for 24 hours, then shower and clean the area daily. Place a clean Band-Aid over the site each day for 5 days. Report any signs of infection (redness, swelling, discharge and fever) to your doctor.
At home, you can eat normally, but you should continue drinking extra fluids for 1 to 2 days after your procedure.
If you have any questions or need to reschedule an appointment please feel free to contact the Interventional Radiology Office at 802- 847-8359. Our business hours are Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Someone is available to take your call after hours for emergencies.
This information is provided by the Fletcher Allen Health Care, Department of Radiology, Division of Interventional Radiology and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. For additional health information, please contact your health care provider.