An angiogram is an imaging test that uses X-rays to look at your blood vessels. It is done to check for conditions such as:
An abdominal angiogram looks at the blood vessels in your belly (abdomen). It may be used to check blood flow to the organs of the abdomen, such as the liver and spleen. It may also be used to guide in the placement of medicine or other materials to treat cancer or bleeding in the abdomen.
Fluoroscopy is often used during an abdominal angiogram. This is a kind of X-ray "movie" with continuous X-rays showing the provider real time images of the test procedure.
Contrast dye is used to cause the blood vessels to appear solid on the X-ray image. This lets the radiologist see the blood vessels more clearly. Dye is injected into specific blood vessels to look at a certain area of blood flow more closely.
For an abdominal angiogram, a catheter (small tube) is placed into a large artery in your groin and then placed into the specific artery of interest. Contrast is injected through this tube. Next, the radiologist takes a series of X-ray pictures. These X-ray images show the blood flow in the abdomen. You may also have a CT (computed tomography) scan or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan with your angiogram.
You may need an abdominal angiogram to find problems of the blood vessels in the abdomen. Problems include:
Other conditions that may be found by include tumors, or bleeding. Angiography may be used to deliver medicine directly into tissue or an organ. This might include clotting medicine to the site of bleeding or cancer medicine into a tumor.
Your healthcare provider may have other reasons to recommend an abdominal angiogram.
You may want to ask your healthcare provider about the amount of radiation used during the test. Also ask about the risks as they apply to you.
Consider writing down all X-rays you get, including past scans and X-rays for other health reasons. Show this list to your provider. The risks of radiation exposure may be tied to the number of X-rays you have and the X-ray treatments you have over time.
Tell your provider if:
Because the procedure involves the blood vessels and blood flow of the abdomen, there is a small risk for complications involving the abdomen. These include:
You may have other risks depending on your specific health condition. Be sure to talk with your provider about any concerns you have before the procedure.
Tips for being prepared:
You may have an abdominal angiogram as an outpatient or as part of a hospital stay. The way the test is done may vary depending on your condition and your healthcare provider's practices.
Generally, an abdominal angiogram follows this process:
After the procedure, you will be taken to the recovery room for observation. Medical staff will watch the blood flow and feeling in your leg where the injection catheter was inserted. A nurse will check your vital signs and the injection site.
You will stay flat in bed in a recovery room for several hours after the procedure. The leg or arm on the side of the injection site will be kept straight for up to 12 hours.
You may be given pain medicine for pain or discomfort of the injection site.
You will be urged to drink water and other fluids to help flush the contrast dye from your body.
You may go back to your usual diet and activities after the procedure, unless your healthcare provider advises you otherwise.
After recovery, you may go back to your hospital room or discharged to your home. If this procedure was done as an outpatient, plan to have someone drive you home.
Once at home, you should check the injection site for bleeding. A small bruise is normal, as is an occasional drop of blood at the site.
Watch the leg or arm for changes in temperature or color, pain, numbness, tingling, or loss of function of the limb.
Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration and to help pass the contrast dye.
You may be told to avoid heavy activity and not to take a hot bath or shower for a period of time after the procedure.
Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these happen:
Your healthcare provider may give you other instructions after the procedure, depending on your situation.
Before you agree to the test or the procedure make sure you know: