by Scholten A
(Arteriography; Angiogram)


An arteriogram is a test that uses x-rays to look at arteries. A special dye called contrast is used with the test. It will make the arteries easier to see.

Reasons for Test

An arteriogram is done to check the arteries for narrowing, bulging, or blockages. These could be signs of disease.

Plaque Blocking an Artery
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Sometimes, problems are found and treated at the same time.

Possible Complications

Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:

  • Bruising or infection at the puncture site
  • Bleeding, pain, or swelling where the catheter was inserted
  • Allergic reaction to the contrast dye
  • Injury to nearby structures or organs
  • Heart attack , stroke , or in rare cases, death

Things that may raise the risk of problems are:

  • Long-term dieases such as diabetes or obesity
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Allergies to contrast dye, iodine, or medicine

What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

The doctor may meet with you to talk about:

  • Any allergies you may have
  • Current medicines, herbs, and supplements that you take and whether you need to stop taking them before the procedure
  • Whether you need a ride to and from surgery
  • If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant


The doctor may give local anesthesia—the area will be numbed. You may have IV medicines to help you relax.

Description of the Procedure

An area on the groin or elbow will be cleaned. A small incision will be made. A catheter (tube) will be passed through the incision into a blood vessel. The tube will be passed through blood vessels to the problem area. A contrast dye will be passed through the tube. It will highlight the blood vessels on a screen in the room. The tube will be removed. Pressure will be applied to the insertion site for a few minutes. A bandage will be placed over the site.

How Long Will It Take?

About 1 hour

Will It Hurt?

It should not hurt. There may be:

  • A brief sting when the medicine is injected
  • Pressure when the tube is inserted
  • A hot, flushed feeling when the contrast dye is injected

Post-procedure Care

You will need to lie flat for some time. It will help to stop bleeding at the insertion site.

At the Care Center

You will need to lie flat for some time. It will help to stop bleeding at the insertion site.

Most can go home the same day. The stay will be longer if there are problems.

At Home

Most can return to normal activity within a couple of days.


The doctor will talk to you about the results. You may need further testing or treatment.

Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor if you have:

  • Signs of infection, such as fever and chills
  • Redness, swelling, excess bleeding, or discharge from the site
  • Severe sweating, pain, chest pain, nausea, or vomiting
  • A leg or arm that feels cold, numb, or tingly, or turns white or blue
  • Breathing problems
  • Problems speaking or seeing
  • Weakness in the face

If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.


American Heart Association 

Radiology Info—Radiological Society of North America 


Health Canada 

The College of Family Physicians of Canada 


Angiogram. Society for Vascular Surgery website. Available at: Accessed August 27, 2021.

Firnhaber JM, Powell CS. Lower extremity peripheral artery disease: diagnosis and treatment. Am Fam Physician. 2019;99(6):362-369.

MR angiography (MRA). Radiology Info—Radiological Society of North America website. Available at: Accessed August 27, 2021.

Peripheral artery diease of the lower extremities. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed August 27, 2021.

Stroke symptoms. American Stroke Association website. Available at: Accessed August 27, 2021.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Nicole Meregian, PA
  • Review Date: 07/2021
  • Update Date: 08/27/2021