Catheter Angiography

This information leaflet tells you about the procedure. Please read it carefully and ask your surgeon if you have any questions or concerns. Please ask your surgeon about alternative investigations and treatment options available.

What is a catheter angiogram?

It is an invasive procedure which uses a special narrow plastic tube called a catheter introduced into the artery usually in the groin and occasionally through the arm. A dye is then injected through this catheter to visualize the blood vessels. The catheter can be steered into various parts of the body via the arteries to get detailed information of narrowing or blocks in the arteries. In-addition, special catheters equipped with balloons at the tip are able to open up narrowed arteries and sometimes a stent maybe be placed inside the artery to keep the narrowed arteries widely open.

Do I have to be starved for the procedure?

Angiogram is generally performed under a local anaesthetic as a day case procedure. You are not allowed to eat for 6 hours prior to the investigation but allowed to drink fluids until 2 hours before the procedure.

Can I take all my regular medications before an angiography?

Please discuss this with Dr Mylankal as some medications especially those used in diabetes can interact with the dye (contrast) used in angiography. In-addition, medications that are used to keep the blood thin can also cause bruising in the groin.

What will happen during the treatment?

You will be taken into the operating theatre and will be greeted by our team. Your name and procedure will be checked and you will be asked about allergies.

You will be laid flat on the angiography table and after cleaning the groin with aseptic solution, a local anaesthetic injection is given in the groin to numb the skin. Following this, a small half cm incision is made in the skin. With the help of an ultrasound machine for accurate visualisation, the groin artery is punctured through this incision with a needle. A catheter is introduced through this puncture hole and images of the arteries are captured by injecting the dye. After reviewing the images immediately and if felt appropriate, Dr Mylankal will then proceed to treat the artery.

At the end, the small puncture hole made in the artery to carry out the procedure is sealed by applying manual pressure over the groin for 15minutes. Alternatively, you may have a stapling metal clip called Starclose to seal the puncture hole.  You will be provided with an information card regarding this device. The half cm skin incision is then closed with a wound closure strip (Steristrip) and a small dressing.

When can you expect to go home after an angiography?

Most patients are discharged home on the same day as the procedure. However, you are not allowed to drive home yourself and please ensure that you are accompanied by a friend or relative to take you home. Sometimes, Dr Mylankal may advice you to stay overnight for extra monitoring.

How do I take care of the wound?

Prior to discharge, nurses will ensure that you are familiar with the appearance of the groin wound and how to apply pressure in the wound with your fingers. This is important as you will then be aware of changes to the groin wound, once you are back at home. Please rest on the day of the procedure and whilst coughing or sneezing make sure that you support the groin puncture site with your fingers. The dressing over the groin wound can be removed after 48hours. 

If you notice bleeding over the dressings or increased swelling in the groin wound, it is important to lie down and apply pressure over the wound with your fingers for 15 minutes. It is also important to immediately call Dr Mylankal or the hospital for further advice.

Should I be drinking plenty of fluids after the procedure?

You are encouraged to drink plenty of fluids following the procedure to rehydrate yourself and the fluid helps to flush out the dye used during the angiogram.

Are there any restrictions after the procedure?

Avoid heavy lifting and straining for 72hours after the procedure.

Can I drive?

Please do not drive for 24hours after the procedure.

Please do not hesitate to contact Dr Mylankal’s rooms or the hospital if you have any queries or concerns.