What is Peripheral Angiography?
A peripheral angiogram is a diagnostic test that uses X-rays and a contrast dye to check for restricted or blocked areas in one or more of the arteries supplying blood to the peripheral regions of the body including legs, feet, arms, and hands.
Preparation of Peripheral Angiography
Before the procedure, your doctor will ask you about the medicines you are taking and review your medical history. Inform your doctor if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, asthmatic, have bleeding problems, or have any allergies to the dye. Your doctor may order certain blood tests to determine your blood’s clotting ability and kidney functions. You will be asked to stop medicines that prevent clotting. Your doctor will advise you to avoid drinking for 4 to 8 hours before the procedure. You will be asked to empty your bladder before the test begins. You should also arrange for someone to drive you home after the procedure.
Procedure for Peripheral Angiography
- You will lie on your back on an X-ray table. Your doctor will insert an intravenous line in the vein of your arm to provide the required medicines and fluids.
- A pulse oximeter will be placed on your finger or ear to measure the levels of oxygen in your blood. Electrodes will be placed on your arms, chest, or legs to record your heart rhythm and heart rate.
- The groin or region above the elbow where the catheter is to be inserted will be cleaned, shaved, and numbed with a local anesthetic.
- A needle puncture will be made on the skin and a thin catheter will be inserted through the skin into your artery.
- Contrast dye will be inserted through the catheter.
- Radiographs will then be taken of the limb. The dye allows narrowed or blocked regions of the artery to be visualized on the radiographs.
- The procedure takes about 30 to 40 minutes.
Post-Procedural Care for Peripheral Angiography
- Following the procedure. You will be taken to a recovery room for a few hours. Bed rest is generally recommended for several hours after the procedure.
- Ice packs can be used to relieve pain and swelling over the needle site. You will also be prescribed medication to relieve any discomfort.
- If the catheter was inserted in your arm, avoid blood tests and measuring blood pressure for several days after the procedure. If the catheter was inserted in the groin area, the leg should be kept straight for about 6 hours.
- It is recommended that you drink plenty of water after the treatment, at least 6 glasses, to flush the dye out of your kidneys. This procedure typically takes 48 hours.
Risks and Complications of Peripheral Angiography
Risk and complications of peripheral angiography include:
- Bleeding or clotting at the needle site
- Allergic reaction to the dye
- Blood vessel damage
- Kidney problems from the dye
- Infection at the catheter insertion site.