HF 4598

Arteriogram Interventional Radiology

Your doctor has scheduled an arteriogram to be done:

Date: ______________________________
Time: ______________________________

This handout will tell you about the test, how to get ready and after care. Our clinic will contact you to answer any questions you may have.

An Arteriogram

It is a test that includes a series of x-ray pictures. They are shown in real time on tv screens in an x-ray room. We use contrast (x-ray dye) to take the pictures. The contrast allows the doctor to see how blood flows through the blood vessels (arteries) in certain parts of the body.

We use this test to check the blood flow through an artery. Your doctor may want this test done to check blood flow before surgery or to look for blockage.

Getting Ready

You will need someone to drive you home. You should not drive or make important decisions for 24 hours after the test.

Have someone stay with you that night in case you need medical care right away.


If you take a blood thinner such as Coumadin (warfarin), aspirin, Xarelto, Eliquis, or Plavix please contact the doctor who prescribes this before your test. Most people must stop this type of medicine several days before.

If you take insulin, we will need to know what kind you take so we can tell you how much to take the morning of the test.

Most often, if you take long-acting insulin in the morning, you should take ½ the dose on the morning of the test.

Most often, if you take short acting insulin in the morning, you should not take it.

If you take Glucophage (metformin) for diabetes you should not take this the day of the test and for 48 hours after the test.

Day of 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.

  • Take your oral medicine on schedule with a small sip of water.

  • Go to the Radiology Prep area.

  • The radiologist will talk with you about the test and have you sign a consent form.

  • An IV catheter will be started in your arm to give you fluids.

  • We will listen to your heart and lungs to make sure you can safely be sedated.

  • You will be taken to the radiology suite.

  • The test will take at least one hour.

  • The skin over your right or left groin will be washed with a special soap. Sometimes we need to shave the area, too.

  • We will cover you with sterile drapes to help prevent infection.

The Test

The test is done through a small tube (about the size of spaghetti or smaller). It is inserted into the artery in your groin area. The groin site is numbed with a local numbing medicine so you will have little pain during the test. We will give you medicine to make you sleepy and pain medicine if needed. Patients may feel pressure at the groin site when the tube is inserted into the artery.

We will inject x-ray dye into the blood stream through the tube in the artery. The doctor will take pictures of how the x-ray dye flows in your blood vessels. During the injection of the dye, you may have a warm, flushed feeling. This feeling is normal. We will also ask you to hold your breath at certain times so there is no motion on the x-ray films.

After the Test

The doctor will remove the tube from the artery. We will apply pressure at the groin site for 10-15 minutes. We will place a bandage on the puncture site.

You will go to recovery where we will check the groin site for bleeding or swelling. They will also check 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. You will be able to eat and drink soon after the test is done.

What to Expect

  • Soreness or tenderness at the site. This can last up to a week.

  • Mild oozing of blood from the site. It should not soak more than two dressing changes.

  • Bruising at the site that may take 2 to 3 weeks to go away.

  • A small lump the size of a dime or quarter may last up to 6 weeks.


  • Bleeding from the puncture site.

  • Allergy to x-ray dye.

  • Damage to kidneys from x-ray dye.

  • Damage to the artery where the catheter tube is inserted.

Before You Go Home

  • The nurse or doctor will show you and your family how to apply pressure to the site.

  • You can go to work on: _________.

  • You can drive on: __________.

Care at Home

  • If you have bleeding at the site, apply direct pressure and go to the nearest emergency room.

  • The first 24 hours, keep your leg (with puncture site) straight when sitting and lying down.

  • No heavy lifting (more than 10 pounds) for 24 hours.

  • No heavy activity or straining (riding a bicycle, golfing, or doing sit-ups) for 1 week.

  • Walking on a flat surface for exercise is best during the first week.

  • Drink at least 8 glasses of liquid for the first 24 hours to help flush out the dye.

  • You should not drink alcohol the first day.

  • You may resume your normal easting.

  • 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.

  • Do not sit in a bathtub, hot tub, or go swimming for 1 week or until the site is healed.

Pain Control

You should feel little pain at home. If you do have soreness in the groin area, you may take acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) 325 mg tablets every 4 – 6 hours. Do not take aspirin or ibuprofen.

You may place an ice pack or warm pack over the site for 20 minutes every 2 hours.

When to Call

Call your doctor if you notice any signs of infection which may include:

  • Redness or swelling of the puncture site.

  • Foul smelling yellowish or greenish drainage from the puncture site.

  • Fever over 100.4° for two readings taken a few hours apart.

  • A very large bruise under and around the puncture site which is firm to the touch.

  • Severe pain or spasms in the leg.

  • Numbness or tingling in foot or leg.

  • Loss of motion in foot or leg.

  • Itching or hives on any part of your body.

  • Uncontrolled nausea or vomiting.

Who to Call

If you have any questions or problems once you are home, call Interventional Radiology at (608) 263-9729, prompt 3, during the day (8:30 am to 5:00 pm).

After hours, nights, weekends, and holidays, please call (608) 262-2122. This will give you the paging operator. Ask for the Interventional Radiologist on call. Leave your name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will call you back.

Toll Free Number: (800) 323-8942.