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A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia [Internet]. Atlanta (GA): A.D.A.M.; 2013.

A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia.

Arteriogram

Angiogram; Angiography

Last reviewed: April 24, 2013.

An arteriogram is an imaging test that uses x-rays and a special dye to see inside the arteries. It can be used to view arteries in the heart, brain, kidney, and other parts of the body.

The procedure is often called angiography.

Related tests include:

How the test is performed

The test is done in a medical facility designed to perform this test. The exact procedure depends on the part of the body being examined.

You may medicine to help you relax.

For most tests:

  • A dye (contrast) is injected into an artery or vein.
  • Injection into an artery takes more preparation and care. Most of the time, an artery in the groin will be used.
  • X-rays are taken to see how the dye flows through your bloodstream.

How to prepare for the test

How you should prepare depends on the part of the body being examined. Your health care provider may tell you to stop taking certain drugs that could affect the test. In most cases, you may not be able to eat or drink anything for a few hours before the test.

How the test will feel

You may have some discomfort from a needle stick. You may feel symptoms such as flushing in the face or other parts of the body. The exact symptoms will depend on the part of the body being examined.

If you had an injection in your groin area, you will usually be asked to lie flat on your back for a few hours after the test. This is to help avoid bleeding. Lying flat may be uncomfortable for some people.

Why the test is performed

An arteriogram is done to see how blood moves through the arteries. It is also used to check for blocked or damaged arteries. In some cases, treatments can be done at the same time as an arteriogram.

Cardiac arteriogram

What the risks are

The risks depend on the type of arteriogram performed. Talk to your doctor about the risks involved before you have the test.

Risks may include:

  • Allergic reaction to the dye used
  • Bleeding, infection, and pain at the injection site
  • Blood clots
  • Damage to blood vessels
  • Damage to the kidneys from the dye used (higher risk for people with diabetes)

References

  1. Kern M. Catheterization and angiography. In: Goldman L,Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier;2011:chap 57.
  2. White CJ. Atherosclerotic peripheral arterial disease. In:Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 79.
  3. Zivin JA. Approach to cerebrovascular diseases. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 413.

Review Date: 4/24/2013.

Reviewed by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

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Copyright © 2013, A.D.A.M., Inc.

What works?

  • Treatments for swelling of an artery in the groin following vascular procedures
    People with heart disease and diseased leg arteries often undergo investigations and treatments that involve placing a needle into the main artery in the groin (endovascular procedures, for example diagnostic arteriogram, angioplasty, cardiac catheterization). One possible complication is the formation of a large swelling in the artery (a pseudoaneurysm) in the groin. This happens when the hole that the needle makes in the wall of the artery does not seal properly afterwards and blood collects, causing pain, swelling and bruising. Small pseudoaneurysms may clot spontaneously or surgery may be required. Less invasive treatment is now possible to stop the blood flow into the swelling. This involves sedation or analgesia to allow pressure to be placed over the puncture in the artery using a special mechanical device or a probe guided by ultrasound. Another option is injection of a clotting agent (thrombin) through the skin into the swelling.
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Figures

  • Cardiac arteriogram.

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