Aortogram, bilateral leg Arteriogram

What is an aortogram and bilateral leg arteriogram?

This procedure finds areas in your blood vessels where they are narrowing or closing.

Why is it necessary?

  • Patients who have pain in their legs when they walk often have a blocked or narrowed blood vessel. Fatty deposits can build up in your blood vessels, reducing blood flow, and in some cases, blocking it completely.

How is it done?

The doctor will thread a narrow, flexible tube, called a catheter, through the arteries suspected of having the narrowing or blockage. Through this tube the doctor will inject contrast (X-ray dye) into the arteries. Once the X-ray pictures show where the blockages are, your doctor will be able to tell the best way to open the blocked blood vessels.

What should you expect?

Before the procedure:

  • You must not to eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the study except for your normal medications. Your doctor or nurse will tell you if you should stop taking any of your medications prior to the procedure.
  • You need to bring a list of all your medications with you to the office.
  • Please tell the nurse if you think you may be pregnant.
  • A nurse will place an IV in your hand or arm so that you can receive fluids and medications.
  • Your doctor and nurse will answer your questions and ask you to sign consent forms.

During the procedure:

  • You will lie on an x-ray table in the procedure room with our staff and machines around you. Your blood pressure, oxygen level and heart rate will be continuously monitored by your nurse.
  • The nurse will give you pain medication and a sedative, which will help you relax, before the procedure. The nurse will give you more medication if needed. You will feel relaxed, but you will be awake so that you can follow instructions.
  • The area where the doctor will be working will be cleaned and shaved. You will be covered with sterile drapes from your shoulders to your feet.
  • The doctor will numb the area in the wrist, foot, or groin and insert a tiny, flexible tube called a catheter.
  • The doctor will guide the tube into an artery and inject X-ray dye.  The dye may cause a warm feeling in your legs, but it will pass in 20 to 30 seconds.  It is important to hold still during this time. You will not feel the tube move inside your artery.
  • The technologist will tell you to hold your breath and stay still during the pictures (about 10 seconds for each picture).

After the procedure:

  • The technologist or nurse will remove the catheter and hold the site for 15 to 20 minutes to prevent bleeding. If the catheter was in your groin, you will need to lie flat without raising your leg for a few hours.
  • The head of the bed may be tilted a little to help you rest. You will be able to bend the other leg to relieve pressure on your back, or the nurse may roll you on your side.  Your nurse will help you with any personal needs.
  • Call the nurse right away if you feel any chest discomfort, back pain, or wetness in the area where the catheter was.
  • Your nurse will check your blood pressure, heart rate, heart rhythm, and assess the area near the catheter insertion frequently.
  • You will receive IV fluids to flush the dye from your system.
  • You may eat and drink once the catheter has been removed.
  • You will need someone to drive you home.

After you go home:

  • You may drive after 24 hours.
  • You should avoid strenuous activity or heavy lifting for a few days as directed by your doctor and nurse.