What is an angiogram?
An angiogram is a diagnostic test performed in the catheter lab by a specially trained doctor and team of nurses and technicians. Epworth Medical Imaging’s angiography and interventional radiology service will be lead by Dr John Vrazas.
Angiography is the imaging of blood vessels, veins and arteries, using x-rays and a dye called contrast. This dye is injected into the bloodstream and shows up on live x-rays. From this imaging, doctors can diagnose vessel narrowing’s, blockages or other abnormalities and decide upon treatment.
How do I prepare for an angiogram?
Follow any instructions given by the doctor prior to this procedure. Usually these instructions are:
- fast (go without food and drink) for 4-6 hours
- arrive to hospital at the scheduled time for admission
- inform staff of any allergies or kidney disease
- inform staff of any medication you are taking
On the day of your appointment
Epworth Medical Imaging’s friendly staff will greet you upon arrival. 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 the angiogram table. This table is attached to an x-ray machine which will move around you.
You will be attached to monitoring so staff can watch your heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen level.
During the procedure you will either be awake or under light sedation, depending upon the doctor and the procedure. This will be discussed with the performing doctor prior to the procedure. If you are awake, you will be on oxygen and you may be asked to hold your breath at various stages of the procedure.
You will have an antiseptic wash on the access site, usually groin or arm, and then be covered in a sterile drape. From this point it is very important to stay still to maintain a clean operating area.
Next the doctor will inject a local anaesthetic into the access site. This will sting but after this point you should not feel any pain. Once the area is numb, the doctor will put a needle into your blood vessel and then feed a catheter (thin plastic tube) into your blood vessel. Using this tube, the contrast will be injected to visualise your blood vessels.
Depending upon what the doctor finds, they may proceed to treat any abnormalities. This will be discussed with you prior to and during the procedure.
What types of interventions might follow an angiogram?
- 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
- women’s health, especially fibroids
- interventional radiology in paediatrics.
What are the risks and side effects of an angiogram?
As with all procedures, even with the highest standards of practice, angiograms do carry risks. Most complications are minor and temporary, however in very rare circumstances some may be permanent and life threatening. Your doctor will discuss these with you before the precodeure.
How long does an angiogram take?
An angiogram usually takes 1 – 2 hours, depending on what is being imaged.
Results of an angiogram are seen instantly by the performing doctor. These results will be discussed with you during or after the procedure.
Epworth Medical Imaging accepts cash, cheque, EFTFOS, MasterCard and Visa for payment on the day. If you have provided your bank details to Medicare, we can lodge Medicare claims electronically so as your Medicare rebate is direct deposited into your bank account.
Pensioners and healthcare card-holders will be bulked billed for all items covered under the Medicare schedule, although some surgical procedures and scans may incur a cost, as they are not covered under Medicare. Our staff will inform you of costs prior to your examination. Please have your Medicare card ready to present to reception.