Preparing for Neuroangiography

Preparing for Neuroangiography

Preparing for Neuroangiography

The University of Virginia Health System is in the process of creating and updating information for patients and their families on studies and procedures.
When this has been completed we will be redirecting these pages to that site.

In the mean time you can go to the University of Virginia Health System,
Patient and Visitor Information Page for information and updates

Head and Neck Angiography

Thank you for choosing the University of Virginia Health System for your health care. This information will give you important instructions and should answer many of your questions. If you have other questions or concerns, please call your referring physician or the UVa Neuroradiology Division at (434) 982-3429 or toll free at 1-800-251-3627, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.  If you must reach someone after 4:30 pm, call (434) 924-9400 or toll free, 1-800-251-3627 and ask for the Neuroradiologist on call.

Angiography is a special x-ray test of the blood vessels (tubes that carry blood from your heart to all parts of the body).  Contrast dye is injected into a blood vessel and x-rays are taken.  These x-rays will show any changes in the shape of the vessel such as a blockage or widening of the vessel. 

What about before the Angiogram?

You will be given an appointment time by your referring physician or the clinic staff. Please plan to arrive 15 minutes before your appointment time.

If you are unable to keep your appointment, please notify us the day before your appointment by calling the numbers listed above.

You should come prepared to stay overnight in the hospital, however, if you are discharged the same day, you will still need to arrange for a family member or friend to drive you home following your angiogram. You can not drive yourself home.

What can I have to eat?

You should not eat any solid food or drink any fluids after midnight the night before your test. 

What about my medications?

Please bring a list (food/drug/latex) of any ALLERGIES you may have.

If your are allergic to iodine, x-ray contrast (dye), please call us at the number above several days in advance. Premedication is required for these allergies and must begin 13 hours before your appointment.

If you take insulin or other medication for diabetes also call us several days prior to your study for instructions on what to do.

Let us know if you take aspirin frequently, or if you take blood thinning  or anticlotting medicine (Coumadin, Plavix, etc.) 3 days in advance as we may need to draw labwork.  You will be given instructions by your referring physician on when to stop taking them.  

Bring all your medications with you.

Other than those medications indicated above you may take prescribed medicines with a small amount of water before coming to the hospital. Contact us if you are not sure about any medication. 

Can I bring valuables, and what should I wear?

Please leave all valuables such as jewelry, wallets, credit cards, checkbooks, etc., at home or with someone you trust. Your belongings will be given to the person accompanying you.

Do not wear jewelry or makeup and remove nail polish.

Before the procedure you will be asked to remove all of your clothes in the study area and put on a hospital gown, so wear something you might be comfortable getting out of.

Where do I go?

Parking, including handicapped access to the hospital is available in Parking Garage East. Come to the Hospital East Radiology Department reception area to register. Be sure to ask for free parking validation at the Radiology Reception Area when you register.


The Neuroradiologist will explain to you how the procedure is performed and possible adverse effects.  Any questions you have will be answered at that time.  You will then be asked to sign a consent form indicating that you understand this information and want to proceed with the test. Someone will take you to the angiography area where you will remove your street clothing and put on a hospital gown.

What is Angiography like?

Prior to angiography, a small catheter (IV) will be inserted into a vein in your arm to be used for giving you fluids and medications.  Special monitoring devices will be placed on your chest and arms in order to check your heart rate and blood pressure throughout the procedure.  You will also be asked to empty your bladder.

The staff will help you move onto a table for the angiography.  The groin area above the blood vessel will be shaved and washed. The doctor will numb the area with an injection called lidocaine which may sting for a few seconds. A small tube will be inserted into the blood vessel and contrast dye will be injected through this tube. You may feel a warm sensation for a few seconds after the contrast dye is injected. These should both be mild. Tell the doctor if you feel uncomfortable.  

Angiography will take approximately one to two hours to complete. You will be awake for the test and will be given medication to help you relax and manage any pain you may have.

After the Angiogram

When the procedure is finished, you will be taken to an observation room on a stretcher.  The neuroradiologist will remove the catheter and apply pressure on the insertion site for 15-20 minutes.  A clear dressing called "op-site" will then be applied.

You must remain flat for 6 hours and not bend the leg on the side of the insertion site.  You will need to use a bed pan or urinal during this time.  After 6 hours, you may get up to go to the bathroom, and the bed may also at that time be raised. 

The nurses will be checking your vital signs (heart rate, blood pressure, pulses, respiration) and the dressing frequently. If you notice wetness or discomfort at the intersion site call for the nurse.

After this initial recovery process, you will either be taken to a hospital unit or discharged to home. If you are discharged home you must have someone else with you.

What can I do after I am discharged?

In either case, when you are discharged you will be given specific intructions about how to care for yourself. You will be allowed to return to your regular diet but should avoid physical exertion.

If you see bleeding from the puncture site, apply firm pressure on this area immediately with your fingers and ask for help from a family member or friend.  Keep constant pressure on the area for 15 minutes.  The bleeding should stop with this compression.
If bleeding continues or if the area becomes swollen, hard, or painful, go to the Emergency Room at the University of Virginia Medical Center.

Minor discomfort and discoloration at the puncture site frequently occurs following angiography.  However, if the pain becomes severe or if your leg becomes numb, or blue, call the Radiology Department at (434) 924-9400 and ask for the "on-call" neuroradiologist.

Thank you for choosing the University of Virginia Health System.

We welcome the opportunity to serve you. Thank you!