A peripheral angiogram is a test carried out to identify any blood vessel narrowing or blocked areas in the arteries supplying your pelvis, legs, knees, ankles and less frequently, your arms. The angiogram will determine whether there is any Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD). PAD can cause narrowings or blockages in your peripheral arteries causing pain, discomfort, and tiredness (also referred to as claudication). The pain may disappear with rest. If a narrowing or blockage is found during an angiogram, a special balloon or stent (a fine mesh stainless steel tube) may be used to open up the narrowed portion of the artery. This is called Percutaneous Transluminal Angioplasty (PTA). In cases where there is an extreme blockage, you may be referred to a surgeon for bypass surgery.
How should I prepare for my procedure?
- Fasting: You may eat until 2 hours before admission then you should not have anything to eat. You may continue to drink clear fluids.
- Allergies or previous reactions to contrast (x-ray dye): Please inform Mercy Angiography staff at the time of booking your procedure if you have any known history of allergies, particular allergies to x-ray contrast and seafood.
- Diabetes: If you are a diabetic you should tell the Mercy Angiography staff at the time of booking. You may need to discuss your insulin dose with your cardiologist.
- Warfarin or Coumadin: If you are taking Warfarin (a “blood thinner”) you should make this known to Mercy Angiography staff at the time of booking. It is likely that you will need to stop this medication temporarily for a few days before angiography.
- Other usual medications: Continue these unless advised otherwise by your specialist.
You are encouraged to bring a friend or family member. On the day of your procedure, please make your way to the Mercy Hospital Reception where they will be expecting you. You will be admitted to a hospital ward and transferred to Mercy Angiography for your procedure.
What are the Risks?
- A small amount of bruising at the catheter entry point is relatively common. This is not usually clinically important unless it becomes painful.
- As the procedure is carried out through the groin, sometimes a “false aneurysm” or out-pouching of the artery deep under the skin can occur at the puncture site. This shows up as increasing pain at the puncture site. The diagnosis is made by an ultrasound test and treatment is usually by an injection.
- Also, patients with kidney failure or other kidney problems should notify their doctor as contrast can worsen existing kidney disease.
- Damage to artery or arterial wall can occur, which can lead to blood clots. This is not a frequent occurrence.