ABC of Vascular Disease
1. What is an angiogram?
An angiogram is a special x-ray of the arteries. Normally arteries do not
show up on x-rays and to make them visible a special dye must be injected into
the artery before the x-ray is taken. In order to do this a small plastic tube
must be put into the artery through the skin, usually in the groin. A
small amount of local anaesthetic is used to make the skin numb first. An
angiogram requires sophisticated x-ray equipment and patients are normally
admitted to hospital for a day to have this investigation. After the
angiogram is done the patient should rest for a few hours to ensure that the
small hole in the artery seals securely.
Angiography is a safe procedure but complications do sometimes occur.
These issues will be discussed with you before you sign a consent form for the
2. Are there any special precautions to take before having an angiogram?
Patients with kidney disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or on anticoagulant
drugs have to take special precautions and an angiogram should only be done if
there are good clinical reasons.