Angiogram of angiography is an X-ray imaging technique of blood vessels to detect any blockage which curbs the supply of blood to various body parts. This method includes injection of contrast medium like iodine dye in the blood which is radio-opaque. A conventional angiogram is important in the detection, diagnosis and treatment of heart disease, heart attack, acute stroke and vascular disease which can lead to stroke. A doctor may recommend the patient for an angiogram to get a map of blood vessels before some major surgery.
General Preparation Before an Angiogram
Few preparations are required prior to the angiogram test depending on which part of the body is to be examined. They include-
- Some patients may require fasting for 4 hours before the angiogram procedure.
- Drinking ample amount of fluid is advised.
- A list of medications taken by the patient should be brought along in the appointment.
- All other prior scan reports should be brought so that the medical team can have the relevant information available.
- Any history of allergic reaction or kidney disease should be mentioned before the angiogram test.
- Patient should be accompanied by a relative or a friend.
How is Angiogram Performed?
The angiogram test is carried out in an angiography suit present in the hospital. It is carried out by a professional medical team.
- The patient is asked to change into the surgical gown and given a mild sedative to relax before angiogram is performed.
- After the patient lies down on a bed provided the doctor explains the entire procedure to be carried out.
- The patient is given local anaesthesia to numb the groin near the right leg or an arm.
- The nurse may insert an intravenous line in the patient’s arm so that the doctor can give any medications if required during the procedure.
- All vital functions like the pulse rate, heartbeat and blood pressure are monitored during the angiogram procedure.
- A very thin flexible tube called catheter is inserted into the artery through the groin or arm. This is done with the help of a cut made over the artery.
- The catheter is then threaded to the internal area to be examined.
- An iodine dye is injected into the catheter and a series of X-ray imaging is done as the dye flows through the blood vessel.
After-Effects of an Angiogram
After the angiogram test, the catheter is removed and the patient is taken to the recovery room for observation. Bruising is common on the incision site and takes few days to heal completely. Though the process of an angiogram is a one-day procedure, the patient might be asked to stay in the hospital overnight for observation, depending on the patient’s health. This is usually planned beforehand. The patient is not recommended for driving or taking shower for the next 24 hours after the angiogram test. It is also advised to avoid much movement for 24 hours after the angiogram test.
Side Effects and Complications of an Angiogram
With the advancement of medical sciences, the process of an angiogram is quite safe although minor side effects are common. These include bruising, soreness or a collection of blood where the cut is made. These problems generally resolve within few days and are not that grave to worry about. The patient may take paracetamol for any discomfort if needed. Apart from this, minor complications may include an infection where a cut is made or mild allergic reaction to iodine dye, such as an itchy rash. Such complications are comparatively rare and can be treated with medications like antibiotics. Serious complications include a heart attack or stroke which is primarily very rare, encountered by 1 out of 10,000 people.