Angiogram Test Prep

Note: The following preps are for outpatient care only. For questions about any of these preps, please contact the Radiology Reception Desk, at (734) 936-4500 for more information.

What is an angiogram?

An angiogram, also called an arteriogram, is an x-ray examination of your arteries (blood vessels). Angiography can be used to look at arteries in the body. An interventional radiologist performs the angiogram. During the procedure, the interventional radiologist places a catheter or small tube into one of your arteries and injects contrast material (commonly called "dye") into vessel while taking x-rays of the area.

Where is the exam performed? How long does it take?

The arteriogram is performed in the Radiology Department on the B1 level of University Hospital, or on the fourth floor of the CVC (Cardiovascular Center). The angiogram takes about one to two hours to finish. Sometimes, it may take longer. In other cases, the interventional radiologist will do a second procedure, such as an angioplasty, at the same time as the angiogram. This makes the procedure take longer.

What is an angiogram like?

You will be given intravenous sedation. The interventional radiologist will clean the area where the catheter will be inserted. This area is at the top of the leg or rarely on the upper arm. The doctor will then put a local anesthetic in the skin. The catheter is inserted into the artery in the numbed area. The catheter is then guided through the body to the artery that is being studied by watching it on an x-ray screen (similar to a TV screen). You will not feel the catheter moving through your arteries. When the catheter is positioned correctly, contrast (x-ray dye) will be injected through the catheter while X-ray pictures are taken. When the contrast is injected, you may feel warm (this lasts for only a few seconds). In many cases, several contrast injections and several sets of X-rays are needed to complete an examination. After the examination is completed, the interventional radiologist will remove the catheter from the artery. Removing the catheter does not hurt. Pressure will be applied to the area where the catheter was for 10 to 20 minutes. This pressure is to prevent the artery from bleeding.

How do I prepare for my angiogram?

  • Eating: Do not eat any solid food for 6 hours prior to your procedure, you may have *clear liquids up to 2 hours prior to the procedure. *clear liquids: water, apple juice, tea, orange juice is not a clear liquid.
  • Medications: Most people should continue to take their prescribed medications. If you are diabetic and are taking Glucophage, Glucovance or Avandamet you must not take the medication for two days after the examination. Also you must have a blood test to check your kidney function before restarting the above medications. Ask your physician for instructions. If you are a diabetic and taking insulin, you should ask your physician for specific instructions regarding the dosages for the day of your examination. If you are taking Coumadin or other medications to thin your blood, you must tell your doctor so that it can be stopped. Bring all your medications with you.
  • Allergies: If you are allergic to contrast (X-ray dye) or iodine, let your doctor know as soon as possible. Let the interventional radiologist know about your allergy a few days before your scheduled angiogram.
  • Smoking: Do not smoke for at least 24 hours before your angiography procedure.

When I Arrive in the Radiology Department:

  • Everybody having an angiogram will have blood tests that are usually done the day before the angioplasty
  • You will change into a hospital gown.
  • Intravenous (IV) line will be placed in one of your veins. This will be used to give you fluids and medicines during the procedure. The IV will stay in place until your recovery is completed.
  • Before your angiogram begins, a member of the interventional radiology team (doctor, nurse, or technologist) will talk with you about the procedure in detail and answer any questions you have.

After The Procedure

  • If you are already a patient in the hospital or if you have been scheduled to be admitted to the hospital immediately after your angiogram: you will stay in the hospital after your study is completed. You will return from the radiology department to your hospital room, and the nursing staff will observe you to make sure you are all right.
  • If you are having your angiogram done as an outpatient: you will stay in the hospital for four to six hours after the procedure is completed. Hospital staff will watch over you to make sure that you are all right. You will go home after the observation period.
  • Please make arrangements for someone to drive you home. You may not drive yourself home. The interventional radiologist will discuss the procedure and further plans with you and your accompanying family after the procedure.

When you go home:

  • Take it easy for 24 hours.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Resume your regular diet.
  • Keep a bandage on the catheter insertion site for a day.
  • Do not drive or run machinery for at least 24 hours.
  • Do not do any strenuous exercise or lifting for at least two days.
  • Do not take a hot bath or shower for at least 12 hours.

Call your doctor immediately if:

  • You start to bleed where the catheter was inserted. If you start to bleed, lie down flat and apply pressure on the bleeding area.
  • There is any change in the color or the temperature of the area where the catheter was inserted. There is numbness, coolness or a change in color of the arm or leg where the catheter was inserted.
  • Your doctor will tell you if you need to return to the hospital.


If you have any questions regarding Arteriogram scheduling, please call (734) 936-4500.

Reviewed and Approved:
James Shields, MD