Skip to Main Content

Peripheral Angiogram

A peripheral angiogram is test that uses X-rays to make a "map" of the vessels (arteries) in your lower body and legs to help diagnosis peripheral artery disease (PAD).

Dignity Health Heart and Vascular Institute of Greater Sacramento provides exceptional diagnostics for our heart and vascular patients. Our cardiologists and physicians use the latest technology to ensure an accurate diagnosis so we can provide you with the best course of treatment available.

What To Expect During A Peripheral Angiogram

Peripheral angiogram uses a catheter and X-rays to help your doctor see areas in your body where blood flow may be blocked. Here's how it is done:

  • You will receive an injection to numb the insertion site.
  • Your heart doctor will make a tiny skin incision near an artery in your groin.
  • Next, your heart doctor will insert a catheter (thin tube) through the incision and thread it up an artery while viewing a video monitor.
  • Contrast "dye" injected into the catheter helps the quality of the X-ray pictures taken of your blood vessels. You may feel warmth or pressure in your legs and back.
  • You will lie still during the X-ray. After the procedure is done, your doctor will remove the catheter.
  • Before the procedure, your doctor or a nurse may give you medication through an IV (intravenous) line to help you relax.

Recovery After A Peripheral Angiogram

After the procedure, you'll be taken to a recovery area. In the recovery area:

  • A doctor or nurse will apply pressure to the site for about 10 minutes.
  • You will need to keep your leg still and straight for a few hours.
  • Your doctor will discuss the results with you soon after the procedure.

Your doctor will give you care instructions upon your departure. On the day you get home:

  • Don't drive
  • Don't exercise
  • Avoid walking
  • Avoid taking stairs
  • Avoid bending and lifting

When To Call The Doctor After Peripheral Angiogram

Peripheral angiogram poses very little risk to your health, but in very rare cases the catheter used can cause artery damage, or the patient may have an allergic reaction to the dyes that are used. During recovery, call your doctor if:

  • You notice a lump or bleeding at the insertion site
  • You feel pain at the insertion site
  • You become lightheaded or dizzy
  • You have leg pain or numbness

Preparing For Peripheral Angiogram

Before coming in for a peripheral angiogram, arrange for a family member or friend to drive you home. Also be sure you:

  • Tell your cardiologist or heart doctor about all medications you take and any allergies you may have.
  • Don't eat or drink after midnight the night before the procedure.
  • If your doctor says to take your normal medications, swallow them with only small sips of water.