The catheter is a small, flexible, hollow tube about the size of a thin strand of spaghetti. The radiologist carefully threads it into your blood vessel and guides it to the area to be studied. He watches the catheter moving through your blood vessels on a special X-ray television screen. When the catheter reaches the site under investigation, X-ray dye is injected through the catheter. This clearly outlines the blood vessels and enables the radiologist to see any irregularities or blockages.
A day or two before the exam, you must come in for a pre-test appointment. At that time you will be seen by a radiologist and/or a nurse, who will give you more information about your procedure and answer any questions you may have. They will give you written instructions telling you what to do before the test and where to go when you come to Stony Brook on the day of the test. They will also ask you to sign a form giving your consent for the procedure. You will then be sent to have blood tests.
What will happen during my procedure?
What will I feel during my angiogram?
The nurse will also give you some intravenous medications to help relax you and make you more comfortable. As the doctor places the catheter, you may notice that the lights go on and off in the room. This allows the doctor to see the TV screen more clearly, so as to follow the catheter's progress. Just as you cannot feel blood flowing in your body, you will not feel the catheter moving inside your blood vessels. When X-ray dye is injected, you may feel a warm or hot flushed feeling. This is a normal response and passes in a few seconds.
While we're taking the X-ray pictures, we'll give you breathing instructions from time to time. Also, we'll tell you before we take the X-rays what you can expect to feel and hear. Once all the necessary pictures are taken, the doctor will remove the catheter, and apply pressure to the puncture site for ten to twenty minutes. This allows the blood vessel to seal over so it does not bleed (stitches are not necessary). A Band-Aid will be placed on the site.
What can I expect after my angiogram?
Your nurse will check on you frequently. She'll take your vital signs, check the puncture site, and check your foot pulses. You should let her know if you have any discomfort such as nausea, headache, a cold feeling, or numbness/tingling in your foot. Please call her immediately if you feel a warm wet sensation or swelling in your groin.
Before you leave the hospital, we will give you written information about caring for yourself at home.
How will I learn the results?