Renal Angiogram/Arteriogram

This special type of X-ray exam helps your doctor find the blockage in the renal arteries and sometimes open the narrowed part with a balloon and stent.

 Your doctor injects a dye into the renal arteries through a long, thin tube (catheter) to outline the arteries and show blood flow more clearly. This test is often performed at the time of restoring the blood vessel opening with a stent.

Your doctor uses renal angiography to see the vessels that supply blood to the kidneys.

For the kidneys to be able to work properly they need a good blood supply. If there is limited blood supply, the kidneys will not be able to filter the waste from the blood, urine will not be produced and waste is not removed from the body properly. If the kidney function worsens you may require dialysis to filter your blood for you.

What is involved with this procedure?

Before a scheduled renal angiogram, your doctor reviews your medical history and performs a physical exam. You may also have one or more of the following examinations:

  • Ultrasound. A scanner passes over the abdomen to produce images using sound waves of the blood vessels in the abdomen.
  • Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) or computerized tomography angiography (CTA). These exams provide highly detailed images of blood vessels by using either radiofrequency waves in a magnetic field or by using X-rays with contrast material.

You’ll receive instructions on what you can or can’t eat or drink before your procedure.

The night before your procedure:

  • Follow your doctor’s instructions about adjusting your current medications. Your doctor may instruct you to stop taking certain medications before angioplasty, particularly if you take certain diabetes medications or blood thinners.
  • Take approved medications with only small sips of water.
  • Arrange for transportation home. You won’t be able to drive yourself home because of lingering effects of the sedative.

You will be given a sedative through your IV to help you relax and make you sleepy. We will need you somewhat awake to follow instructions, like holding your breath and to not swallow.

Before the procedure

  • Your groin or wrist is shaved and prepared with antiseptic solution, and a sterile drape is placed over your body.
  • A local anesthetic is injected into the area to numb the area.

During the procedure

  • A small tube (sheath) is placed into the artery. A catheter is threaded through the tube. You won’t feel the catheter passing through the arteries because the insides of arteries don’t have nerve endings – otherwise you would feel your blood going through your body!
  • Contrast material is injected into the renal artery through the catheter. The contrast material may cause a temporary warm feeling. X-ray images will show the dye as it flows through the blood vessels in the kidneys.

When the procedure is completed, the site where the catheter was inserted is closed a few different ways:

  • Pressure is applied to the groin site to stop bleeding.
  • A “collagen plug” is inserted into the groin area to stop bleeding.
  • Pressure is applied to your wrist to stop bleeding.
  • You’ll then be taken to the recovery area.

After the procedure

To avoid bleeding from the catheter insertion site, you need to lie relatively still or keep your wrist straight for several hours in the recovery area.

The catheter site may remain tender, swollen and bruised for a few days. There may be a small area of discoloration or a small lump in the area of the puncture.

You may take acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) in the recommended dose as needed for discomfort, or other medication as prescribed by your doctor.

You may need to avoid strenuous activity and heavy lifting for 24 hours after the procedure.


The physician will go over the results we found on your angiogram. Based on the angiogram findings, decisions will be discussed how to proceed further.

Renal Angiograms 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.

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 test will be scheduled.

Renal Angiogram FAQs

Q:  What are the risks of renal angiograms?

A:  With any medical procedure, complications might happen. Here are some of the possible complications of renal angiograms:

  • Bleeding. You may have bleeding at the site in your groin or wrist where the catheter was inserted. Usually this simply results in a bruise, but sometimes serious bleeding occurs and may require a blood transfusion or surgical procedures.

Q:  How can I prevent possible renal artery problems?

A:  Lifestyle changes will help you maintain your good results:

  • Don’t smoke.
  • Lower your cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Control other conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
  • Exercise regularly.