Angiography requires a direct access through needle puncture of an artery or vein. Your surgeon then inserts a small tube into the vessel and administers contrast and performs xray to evaluate for blockage. If a significant blockage is found it can often be treated at the same time through either an angioplasty or stent placement. Since it requires contrast, the same precautions as with the CT scan apply. Since in this case the artery is directly punctured, patients should inform their surgeon if they are on blood thinning medication. Depending on the nature of the procedure they may be asked to hold it prior. Usually aspirin and Plavix do not need to be held. However medications such as Coumadin, eliquis, xarelto, or pradaxa will need to be stopped prior. Please ask your surgeon how long they should be held.
Depending on the problem, the angiogram may be able to be done as an outpatient within our office. Some cases will need to be performed at the hospital and could require an overnight stay.
The most common need for angiography is peripheral artery disease causing either disabling leg pain, constant pain, or non healing wounds. For these patients angiography with either angioplasty or stent placement may be able to treat the problem. Another common reason for angiography is problems with a dialysis access. If an access is malfunctioning due to scar tissue this can often be treated as an outpatient in our office.
After the procedure it is important to refrain from strenuous activity for 3 days to allow the small puncture site to heal.