What is Angiography

An angiogram is an x-ray picture of the arteries supplying different parts of the body. X-ray contrast (an iodine-containing substance) is injected through a thin plastic tube (catheter) to outline the arteries. Common areas for an angiogram are legs, kidneys, head and heart.


You will stay in hospital overnight or for at least 3 hours in the Short Stay Unit or Radiology Department. You should take your usual blood thinning medications eg. Aspirin, Warfarin beforehand. As the x-ray contrast is cleared away by the kidneys please continue to drink plenty of fluid before and after the angiogram. If you have diabetes and are on insulin treatment, please ring us to arrange the best time and treatment before the study.

Fast for 4 hours prior to your appointment. Take any blood thinning medication, eg Aspirin, Warfarin you are on as usual, but only with a small amount of water.

Our staff will tell you what time you are to come to the clinic.

Please bring any previous x-rays with you on the day of your examination.


The procedure is performed through the artery, most commonly in the groin, under local anaesthetic. It is performed under sterile conditions with all members of the team dressed in sterile theatre gowns. The initial local anaesthetic injection stings a little, but after that there should be minimal discomfort.

Once the area is numb, a small plastic tube (catheter) is placed in the artery. Contrast dye, which can be seen under x-ray, is injected through the catheter into the arteries and a series of pictures is taken. This produces a warm feeling which only lasts for a few seconds. At this stage you will be asked to keep still.

The x-ray machine will move around your body (but will not touch you) to view the arteries from a number of different positions to identify any arteries that are narrowed or blocked.

At the conclusion of the procedure, the catheter is removed. Pressure is applied to the groin artery to allow it to seal. This takes about 10-20 minutes.

After the Procedure

After the procedure, you will be required to stay for observation. You will be required to lie flat for the first two hours. However, you will be able to get up and walk around later that day.

Following the observation period, you will need to arrange for someone to drive you home.

In addition, you should also arrange for someone to be with you until the next morning after the radiology procedure.