What is an angiogram?
An angiogram is a diagnostic test performed in the catheter lab by a specially trained doctor and a team of nurses and technicians.
Angiography is the imaging of blood vessels, veins and arteries using X-rays and a contrast agent (dye). Contrast is injected into the bloodstream and shows up on live X-rays. This enables doctors to diagnose vessel narrowing, blockages or other abnormalities and informs treatment options.
How do I prepare for an angiogram?
Follow any instructions from your doctor prior to the procedure. These usually require you to:
- fast (go without food and drink) for 4-6 hours
- arrive at hospital at the scheduled time for admission
- inform staff of any allergies or kidney disease
- inform staff of any medications you are taking.
On the day of your appointment
Epworth Medical Imaging’s friendly staff will greet you on arrival. Please bring a list of any current medications you are taking, along with any relevant imaging (X-rays, ultrasounds).
What is involved in an angiogram?
During the angiogram, you will lie on an angiogram table attached to an X-ray machine that moves around you. Staff will closely monitor your heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen levels.
During the procedure, you will either be awake or under light sedation, depending on the doctor’s instructions. This will be discussed with the doctor performing the angiogram prior to the examination. If you are awake, you will be on oxygen and may be asked to hold your breath at various stages.
An antiseptic wash will be applied to the access site (usually the groin or arm), which will be covered with a sterile drape. From this point, it is important to remain still to ensure that the operating area remains clean.
The doctor will inject a local anaesthetic into the access site. This will sting but afterwards you should not feel any pain. Once the area is numb, the doctor will insert a needle – then feed a catheter (thin plastic tube) – into your blood vessel. A contrast agent (dye) will be injected via the tube to accentuate your blood vessels on the images.
If the doctor detects any abnormalities, they may proceed with treatment, however this will be discussed with you prior to, and during, your procedure.
What types of interventions might follow an angiogram?
Interventions that may follow an angiogram include:
- treatment of brain aneurysms and other vascular conditions of the brain
- renal denervation for difficult-to-control blood pressure
- laser therapy for varicose veins
- specialised ultrasound techniques to diagnose and monitor chronic liver disease
- vascular access
- interventions for cancer patients
- treatment of vascular anomalies
- treatment of women’s conditions, especially fibroids
- paediatric interventional radiology.
What are the risks and side effects of an angiogram?
All procedures, even with the highest standards of practice, carry risks. Most complications associated with angiograms are minor and temporary, however in very rare circumstances some may be permanent and life threatening. Your doctor will discuss potential risks and side effects with you before your angiogram.
How long does an angiogram take?
An angiogram usually takes 1 to 2 hours, depending on the area being imaged.
Angiogram results are instantly visible to the performing doctor and will be discussed with you during or after the procedure.
Epworth Medical Imaging accepts cash, cheque, EFTFOS, MasterCard and Visa for on-the-day payment. If you have provided your bank details to Medicare, claims can be lodged electronically to ensure that your Medicare rebate is deposited directly into your bank account.
Pensioner Concession, Health Care, Commonwealth Seniors Health and Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold cardholders will be bulk-billed for all Medicare-eligible outpatient items. Some surgical procedures and scans that are not covered under the Medicare Benefits Schedule may incur an out-of-pocket cost. Our staff will inform you of costs prior to your examination. Please present your Medicare card and any concession cards to reception on arrival.