Peripheral Angiogram

A peripheral angiogram is a test that uses X-rays and dye to help your doctor find narrowed or blocked areas in one or more of the arteries that supply blood to your legs. The test is also referred to as a peripheral arteriogram.

This test is usually ordered if you have other testing that has shown results that could be indicative of a blockage in you the vessels that supply blood to your legs, carotids or kidneys. The angiogram helps you and your doctor decide if a procedure is needed to open the blocked arteries.

What are some of the techniques used for treatment of the blockage?

There are several ways of opening the blockages in the vessels. 

Peripheral angioplasty is one such procedure. It uses a balloon catheter to open the blocked artery from the inside.

The doctor may also decide to perform an Atherectomy to remove the plaque from the wall of the artery. (Some people have heard this described as a “Roto Rooter”.) This makes more room for a balloon to expand the vessel and if needed, place a stent. A stent, a small wire mesh tube, is sometimes placed in the artery after angioplasty to help keep it open.

Based on your specific blockage type, we have several options for atherectomy devices:

  • Hawk Atherectomy
  • Phoenix Atherectomy
  • Shockwave

Our facility also has Intravascular Ultrasound (IVUS). IVUS is a special catheter imaging technology that has a small ultrasound probe on the tip that allows the physician to visualize your blood vessels from the inside out.

This allows the physician to see inside the vessel to determine whether the blockage is hard or soft, if a blood clot is present or a combination of all.

Providing these state-of-the-art technologies ensures that you are receiving the best treatment options for your condition.

You can feel confident that San Tan Cardiovascular Center is treating you with the latest technology in the current market.

Peripheral Angiograms at San Tan Cardiovascular Center

At San Tan Cardiovascular Center, we have a state-of-the-art angiography suite in our Gold Canyon location that is the same system used in most hospitals across the Valley. This specialized equipment produces superior, high quality images that give accurate results for our patients.

Dr. Yilma will perform your procedure, along with a team of nurses and technicians.

  • Before the test, a nurse will put an IV (intravenous line) into a vein in your arm so you can get medicine and fluids. You’ll be sedated during the test.
  • A nurse will clean and shave the area where the doctor will be working. This is usually an artery in your groin.
  • A local anesthetic will be given to numb the needle puncture site.
  • The doctor will make a needle puncture through your skin and into your artery, and insert a long, thin tube called a catheter into the artery. You may feel some pressure, but you shouldn’t feel any pain.
  • The doctor will inject a small amount of dye into the catheter. This makes the narrowed or blocked sections of your arteries show up clearly on X-rays. The dye may cause your legs to feel warm for a few seconds.
  • If the test shows an area of blockage we will proceed with treatment at that time.

Our highly experienced staff will be happy to care for you during your outpatient procedure. You can feel confident you will receive quality care in our outpatient lab due to our one-on-one patient care approach.

How do I get started?

Contact San Tan Cardiovascular Center today to make an appointment with one of our healthcare providers.

At this appointment:

  • we will review your medical history, discuss your symptoms and perform a non-invasive, diagnostic test to further determine your medical condition,
  • any pertinent testing that needs to be done beforehand will also be ordered at this time.

Our billing department will then contact your health insurance company to obtain prior authorization.  Upon receiving insurance authorization, the procedure will be scheduled.

Peripheral Angiogram FAQs

Q:  What are the risks of peripheral angiograms?

A:  Serious risks and complications from peripheral angiograms are very unlikely. But in rare cases:

  • A thin tube (catheter) that doctors insert into your artery during a peripheral angiogram could damage the artery.
  • Some people may have allergic reactions to the dye used in the test. Tell your doctor and the staff if you have ever had an allergic reaction to x-ray contrast dye or to iodine substances. The staff will give you medications to prevent you from having a reaction.

Q:  How do I prepare for a peripheral angiogram?

  • Your doctor and the office staff will give you instructions about what you can eat or drink during the 24 hours before the test.
  • Usually you’ll be asked not to eat or drink anything for 6 to 8 hours before your peripheral angiogram.
  • Tell your doctor about any medicines (including over-the-counter, herbs and vitamins) you take. He or she may ask you not to take them before your test. Don’t stop taking your medicines until your doctor tells you to.
  • Tell your doctor or nurse if you are allergic to anything, especially iodine, latex or rubber products, medicines like penicillin, or X-ray dye.
  • Leave all your jewelry at home.
  • Arrange for someone to drive you home after your angiogram.

Q:  What happens after the peripheral angiogram?

  • If possible, a collagen “plug” will be inserted into the area of the groin where the sheath was placed. 
  • You will go to a recovery room for a few hours.
  • To prevent bleeding, the nurse will put pressure on the puncture site. After about 20 minutes, the nurse will remove the pressure and check for bleeding.
  • The nurse will ask you not to move the leg used for the catheter.
  • The nurse will continue to check often for bleeding or swelling.
  • Before you leave, the nurse will give you written instructions about what to do at home.

Q:  What happens after I get home?

  • Drink lots of liquids to make up for what you missed while you were preparing for the angiogram and to help flush the dye from your body. For most people, this means drinking at least 6 glasses of water, juice or tea.
  • You can start eating solid food and taking your regular medicines 4 to 6 hours after your angiogram.
  • Don’t drive for at least 24 hours.
  • The puncture site may be tender for several days, but you can probably return to your normal activities the next day.
  • Your doctor will get a written report of the test results to discuss with you.

Q:  What should I watch for?

A:  A small bruise at the puncture site is common. If you start bleeding from the puncture site, lie flat and press firmly on that spot. Ask someone to call the doctor who did your peripheral angiogram.

Call your doctor if:

  • Your leg with the puncture becomes numb or tingles, or your foot feels cold or turns blue.
  • The area around the puncture site looks more bruised.
  • The puncture site swells or fluids drain from it.

Call 9-1-1 if you notice:

  • The puncture site swells up very fast.
  • Bleeding from the puncture site does not slow down when you press on it firmly.