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What happens during the procedure?

Written by : DoctorNDTV Team

Angiography is performed at a hospital by a trained radiologist and assisting technician or nurse. Angiography requires the injection of a contrast dye that makes the blood vessels visible to x-ray. The dye is injected by an arterial puncture. The puncture is usually made in the groin area, armpit, inside elbow, or neck. Depending on the type of angiography procedure being performed, the contrast medium is either injected by hand with a syringe or is mechanically injected with an automatic injector connected to the catheter. An automatic injector is used frequently because it is able to propel a large volume of dye very quickly to the angiogram site. The patient is warned that the injection will start, and instructed to remain very still. The injection causes mild to moderate discomfort. Possible side effects or reactions include headache, dizziness, irregular heartbeat, nausea, warmth, burning sensation, and chest pain, but they usually last for a short time.

Throughout the dye injection procedure, x-ray pictures and/or fluoroscopic pictures (or moving x rays) are taken. Because of the high pressure of arterial blood flow, the dye will dissipate through the patient's system quickly, so pictures are taken in rapid succession. Once the x-rays are complete, the catheter is slowly and carefully removed from the patient. A pressure bandage is then applied.

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