Mercy Medical Center North Iowa


What is an Angiogram?

An angiogram is a test to look at arteries in the body. Arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients to the body. This test also is called angiography or arteriography.
What Happens During an Angiogram?
During an angiogram, a catheter is put into an artery, usually in your groin. Your groin is the area between your abdomen (belly) and the top of your leg. A catheter is long, thin, bendable tube. Sometimes the catheter may be put into a different artery, such as one in your arm. Special dye is given through the catheter, and x-ray pictures of blood flow in certain arteries are taken.
Why Do I Need an Angiogram?
You may need an angiogram to check for blockage or other problems in an artery. Some causes of blood flow problems in arteries are blood clots or atherosclerosis, also called hardening of the arteries. You may need an angiogram if you have other blood vessel problems, such as an aneurysm. An aneurysm is when the wall of a blood vessel gets weak and bulges out like a balloon.
Care Agreement:
You have the right to help plan your care. To help with this plan, you must learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. You can then discuss treatment options with your caregivers. Work with them to decide what care may be used to treat you. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
Are There Any Risks of Having an Angiogram?
In most cases, the risks of having an angiogram are far less than potential problems that can go undetected by not having an angiogram.
While most people do not have problems having an angiogram, there are risks, including death, with any medical procedure. However, risk factors will be monitored closely by caregivers.

If you do not have an angiogram, caregivers may not know the best way to treat your health problem. This could cause your health condition to get worse. Call your caregiver if you are worried or have questions about your medicine or care.
Getting Ready:
Ask your caregiver if you need to stop taking any prescribed or over-the-counter (OTC) medicine before your angiogram.

Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to shellfish (lobster, crab, or shrimp) or iodine, because you may also be allergic to the dye that will be used during the procedure. Also, tell caregivers if you are or think you might be pregnant, or if you have and kidney problems.

You may need to have blood drawn for tests, or an x-ray.

Arrange for a family member or friend to drive you home after your angiogram. Do not try to drive home yourself.

Your stomach needs to be completely empty (no food or water) for six to 12 hours before the angiogram.

If you have diabetes, ask your caregiver for special instructions about what you may eat and drink before your procedure. If you use medicine to treat diabetes, your caregiver may have special instructions about using it before the procedure. You may need to check your blood sugar more often before and after having your procedure.
The day of your angiogram:
  • Angiogram date and location:
  • Time to arrive:
  • What to bring: Bring with you any lab test results you were given, and any papers your caregiver has given you to sign. You may want to bring personal belongings such as a bathrobe and toothbrush. Leave valuable items such as jewelry and money at home.
  • Ask your caregiver before taking any medicine on the day of your angiogram. These medicines include insulin, diabetic pills, high blood pressure pills, and heart pills. If you do need to take medicines on the day of your angiogram, take them with as little water as possible. Bring a list of your medicines or the pill bottles with you to the hospital. Write down the time you last took your medicines. Tell your caregiver about any herbal supplements or over-the-counter medicines you have taken recently. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to anything.
  • Take a full bath or shower before the angiogram. You may not be able to fully bathe again until 24 hours or more after your angiogram.
  • Do not wear contact lenses the day of your angiogram. You may wear your glasses.
Informed consent
You may be asked to sign a consent form that gives caregivers permission to do certain tests, treatments, or procedures. If you are unable to give your consent, someone who has permission can sign this form for you. Before giving your consent, make sure all your questions have been answered so that you understand what may happen.
After your angiogram:
Caregivers will watch you closely after your angiogram. Tell your caregiver if:
  • You have chest pain, pressure, or tightness.
  • Your leg or arm feels unusually hot or cold, or turns a different color. Tell caregivers if your leg or arm hurts, or feels numb.
  • You feel swelling or wetness at the puncture site.
  • You have pain in your back, thigh or groin.
  • You feel nauseated (sick to your stomach) or start to sweat a lot.

If you have any questions, ask your health care provider or call the Mercy Imaging Services: 
or 1-800-433-3883, ext. 7200.