What are the risks of an angiogram?

Dr. John C. Lipman, MD
Vascular & Interventional Radiologist

Angiograms are very safe. There are very rare risks in undergoing an angiogram. In rare instances, a patient will have an allergic reaction to the contrast (dye) that is used during the angiogram. This contrast is similar to contrast that is used intravenously during a CT scan and patients who are scheduled to undergo an angiogram should be asked about whether they have had any contrast in the past and whether they had any reaction to it. If so, and if the angiogram is medically necessary, the patient will be premedicated with oral steroids and histamine blockers prior to the angiogram. There is also a very rare risk of bleeding at the skin entrance site for the angiogram which is almost always handled very easily with some manual compression of the site. Lastly, angiograms are performed under x-ray and typical angiograms have an acceptably low radiation exposure to the patient. Because of this, all angiograms should be medically necessary and the patient should seek out the most experienced physician to perform their angiogram.

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