Arteriogram Preparation and Home Care
Your doctor has scheduled an arteriogram to be done by our Interventional Radiologist on_______________at _______________ am/pm. This handout explains the test and how to prepare for it. Our clinic will be in contact with you to answer any questions you may have and to provide further intstructions.
What is an arteriogram?
An arteriogram is a procedure in which a series of x-ray pictures are shown in real time on tv screens in an x-ray room. This kind of x-ray technique is called fluoroscopy. The pictures are taken with the use of contrast (x-ray dye). The contrast allows the doctor to see how blood flows through the blood vessels (arteries) in a specific part of the body.
Why do you need an arteriogram?
It is used to check the blood flow through an artery. Your doctor may want you to have the test to check blood flow before surgery or to look for an area of blockage.
How to Prepare
1. If you are taking a blood thinner such as Coumadin®(warfarin), aspirin, Persantin®, or Plavix® please contact the healthcare provider who prescribes this for you BEFORE the angiogram. Most people must stop this type of medicine several days before the test under the direction of their doctor.
2. Please make plans to have someone drive you home after the test. You should not drive or make important decisions for 24 hours after the test.
3. You should have someone stay with you that night, just in case any problems occur and you need medical care right away.
4. The morning of the test, do not eat solid foods 6 hours before the exam. You may drink clear liquids (fluid you can see through) until 4 hours before the exam.
5. If you are taking insulin we will need to know what kind you take in order to instruct you on how much to take the morning of the procedure. Most often, if you normally take long acting insulin in the morning, you should take 1/2 the dose on the morning of the biopsy. If you normally take short acting insulin in the morning, most often you should not take it. We will check your blood sugar when you arrive.
6. If you take a medicine called Glucophage® (metformin) for diabetes you should not take any of this medicine the day of the test and for 48 hours after the test.
7. Take your other prescribed oral medicine on schedule the day of the test with a sip of water.
8. If you are pregnant or think you may be, please tell the radiologist and x-ray staff.
9. Tell the x-ray staff if you have any allergies to x-ray dyes, iodine, seafood, anesthetic agents, latex, or any other medicines that you may have taken before. Also, tell the x-ray staff if you have kidney problems.
You will arrive at the Radiology Preparation area. Before the test, our radiologist will talk with you about what to expect and ask you for your consent to do it. An IV (intravenous) catheter will be inserted into your vein to give you fluids. A nurse will listen to your heart and lungs to make sure you can safely be sedated for the procedure. A urinary catheter will be inserted into your bladder to drain urine since you will not be able to get up to go to the bathroom during or immediately after the test.
You will be transported to the radiology suite. The test will take at least one hour. Before the procedure, the skin over your right or left groin will be washed with a special soap. Sometimes it is necessary to shave the area, too. You will be covered with sterile drapes to help prevent infection. The doctors will also wear sterile gowns and masks.
The test is performed through a small tube (usually the size of spaghetti or smaller) that is inserted into the artery in your groin area. The skin around the groin site will be numbed with a local numbing medicine so you will have little discomfort during the test. You will get some medicine to sedate you and pain medicine if you do have any pain. Patients usually feel pressure at the groin site when the tube is inserted into the artery
Through the tube in the artery, x-ray dye will be injected into the blood stream. The doctor will take pictures of how the x-ray dye flows through your blood vessels. During the injection of the dye you may have a warm, flushed feeling. This feeling is normal and may also be felt in the abdomen and buttocks. You will also be asked to hold your breath at certain times so there is no motion on the x-ray films.
After the Procedure
After all the pictures are taken, the doctor will remove the tube from the artery and will apply pressure at the groin site for 10-15 minutes. A bandage will be placed on the puncture site.
You will be transported to a recovery area where nurses will check the groin site for bleeding or swelling. They will also be checking your vital signs and pulses in your legs. You will need to lie flat and keep the leg with the puncture site straight for 4-6 hours after the test. You will be allowed to eat and drink soon after the test is done.
Risks to undergoing an arteriogram include:
1. Bleeding from the groin puncture site.
2. Allergy to x-ray dye.
3. Damage to kidneys from x-ray dye.
4. Damage to the artery where the catheter tube is inserted.
Before you go home
1. Have the nurse or doctor show you and your family how to apply direct pressure to the site.
2. Write down the date the doctor says you can return to work: ______________________
3. Write down the date the doctor says you can resume driving: ______________________
What to do when you are home
1. If bleeding occurs at the site, apply direct pressure and go to the nearest emergency room.
2. Keep your leg (with puncture site) straight when sitting and lying down for the first 24 hours.
3. No heavy lifting (more than 10 pounds) for 24 hours after the procedure.
4. Push fluids after the test to flush the dye from your system. Drink at least 8 glasses of liquid for the first 24 hours. You should not drink alcohol the first day. You may eat whatever you like.
5. Keep the puncture site covered with a Band-Aid® and dry for 24 hours. After that, you can remove the Band-Aid® and shower or bathe. Put a clean Band-Aid® over the site each day for the next 3 days.
6. Once a day for three (3) days, look at the puncture site on your leg for signs of infection. Call your doctor if you notice:
- Red and/or hot puncture site
- Foul smelling, yellowish or greenish drainage from puncture site
- Increased swelling at puncture site
- Temperature (by mouth) above 100ºF or 37ºC
7. You should feel little pain at home. If you do have soreness in the groin area, you may take acetaminophen (such as Tylenol®). Do not take aspirin or ibuprofen.
When to Call Your Doctor
Call your doctor if you have:
- Signs of infection (see above #6)
- A very large bruise under and around the puncture site which is firm to touch
- Severe pain or spasms in the leg
- Numbness and/or tingling in foot or leg
- Loss of motion in foot or leg
- Itching or hives on any part of your body
If you have any questions or problems once you are home, call the Interventional Radiology Department (608) 263-8355 during the day (8:30 am to 5:30 pm).
After hours, nights, weekends, and holidays, please call (608) 262-0486. This will give you the paging operator. Ask for Dr. _________________________ the Radiologist who performed the arteriogram. Leave your name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will call you back.
Toll Free Number: (800) 323-8942
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 12/07/2012
Copyright © 06/09/2011 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#4598
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