An angiogram, also known as an arteriogram, is a diagnostic procedure to examine the blood vessels. This test provides the greatest detail regarding the shape of blood vessels and the flow of blood through the vessels. Our group performs approximately 1000 angiograms yearly.
Angiograms are used in the diagnosis and treatment of the following conditions
- Arterial blockages (stenosis) of the neck and brain vessels
- Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs)
- Dural AV fistulas
- Subarachnoid hemorrhage (bleeding around the brain)
- Bleeding within brain tissue
- Vasculitis (inflammation of blood vessels)
How an angiogram is performed
An angiogram of the brain is a minimally invasive test. After the administration of local anesthetic and sedation, a catheter is navigated from the artery of the leg to the arteries of the neck. Through the catheter an iodine contrast solution is briefly injected and X-ray pictures are obtained. The angiogram procedure requires thirty minutes to an hour depending on the complexity of the question to be answered. After images are obtained, the catheter is removed and pressure is applied to the groin to allow the artery to seal and heal properly.
A diagnostic angiogram of the brain is considered a low risk test. Certain medical conditions can raise the risk of complication and steps are required to minimize risk. Inform the doctor or nurse in advance if you are being considered for an angiogram and have any of the following conditions:
- Renal insufficiency (poor kidney function)
- Allergy to iodine or contrast
- Problems with blood clotting
- Marfan syndrome
- Sickle cell disease
Or if you take any of the following medications:
- Glucophage (metformin)
- Coumadin (warfarin)
- Plavix (clopidogrel)
- Ticlid (ticlopidine)
- Aggrenox (dipyridamole combined with aspirin)
- Lovenox (enoxaparin or any other heparin compound)
Instructions for patients undergoing angiography
Neither eat nor drink 8 hours prior to your angiogram. Unless otherwise instructed, you may take your medications at the normal time with sips of water.
You will be asked to arrive one to two hours before the scheduled time of the angiogram.
Check in on the first floor of the Peet Center (located at the north end of St. Luke's Hospital of Kansas City, Plaza campus. Once paperwork is completed, you will be directed to the department of radiology on A level (near the emergency room). Once in the “prep room” your history and medications will be reviewed. Blood tests will be drawn. You will sign a consent form, after which you will be given sedation. For a routine diagnostic angiogram, expect to be in the angiogram suite for about an hour.
You will need to be flat after the test is completed for 4 to 6 hours before being discharged home.
Once home, lift nothing heavier than a gallon of milk for two days to allow the leg artery to heal properly. Lift nothing heavier than 40 pounds for two weeks. If your work requires heavy lifting, speak with your neurointerventional physician prior to the test.
Contact the neurointerventional nurse coordinator, Jessica Kelsey, at 816-932-2549 if you have questions or concerns before or after your angiogram.
Please be understanding of delays created by emergent cases. Saint Luke's Hospital on the Plaza is Kansas City's preeminent stroke center and emergency neurointerventional cases cause significant delays about once a week. This occasionally results in patients undergoing angiography late in the day and needing to recover at Saint Luke's Hospital overnight.