Sources describing an outpatient arteriogram, a procedure that doctors undertake to track blood movement in the arteries so they can detect abnormalities, include Healthline, the University of Maryland Medical Center and Johns Hopkins Medicine. The procedure involves administering anesthesia, inserting a catheter into an artery, injecting contrast dye and taking X-ray images, reports Johns Hopkins Medicine. Sometimes, at the end of the procedure, doctors treat blockages they find by using the catheter to administer medication, adds Healthline.
Depending on which part of the body the doctor is imaging, he may ask the patient to refrain from eating, drinking and taking certain medications for a specified period of time, according to Healthline. Typically, a doctor uses local anesthesia at the site of the catheter insertion, but infants, children and unusually stressed patients may receive general anesthesia, explains Johns Hopkins Medicine. The patient sits or lies on an X-ray table, and the doctor places electrode patches attached to an electrocardiogram to record heart activity. The doctor makes a small incision in the groin or arm and inserts the catheter. When the procedure is finished, the patient lies flat in a recovery room for a few hours to prevent bleeding from the site of the incision.
After an arteriogram, the patient should keep the wound site dry for a few days and avoid vigorous activity for up to a week, advises Healthline. Abnormal risks to the procedure include an allergic reaction or kidney damage from the dye, blood vessel damage, and bleeding and infection at the site of the insertion, points out the University of Maryland Medical Center.