Risks with Angiograms

Angiograms are common, routine procedures these days. But it never hurts to be well informed on any of the risks.


What are the risks with getting an Angiogram?

Specific risks vary depending on the type of invasive angiogram, but because the procedure involves the blood vessels and blood flow in the body, there is a small risk for complications involving these structures. These complications may include hemorrhage due to puncture of a blood vessel, injury to nerves, a clot in the blood vessel (embolus), hematoma (an area of swelling caused by a collection of blood), irregular heart rhythm, infection, allergic reaction to the contrast dye and/or damage to kidneys from the contrast dye, and in really extreme cases, a stroke.

risks of angiograms two views

CT Angiograms, even though they’re considered non-invasive, do produce "ionizing radiation" in the process of creating an image, and these can be harmful to your body. CT technology is based on x-rays, and works by capturing x-ray images from multiple angles and using these to re-create the three dimensional image we mentioned before. Overall, the risk of radiation is relatively low, but a CT angiogram is not recommended for routine care.

Radiation is especially harmful to an unborn child, and pregnant women should not have a CT scan due to this risk which is why you should tell your doctor if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding.

Your doctor might also use additional steps to ensure that your kidneys are not affected by the contrast used in the scan. These include certain drugs that prevent the toxic effect of contrast in addition to making sure you drink enough water before the scan.


patient getting angiogram two views

ABOVE: An angiogram has become a common, almost routine procedure in most hospitals.

doctor reading angiogram two views

ABOVE: Most healthcare professionals believe the benefits of getting an angiogram far outweigh the risks.


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IMPORTANT: The information on this page, and throughout the entire site, is not intended to provide advice or treatment for a specific situation. Consult your physician and medical team for information and treatment plans on your specific condition(s). Images are shown for illustrative purposes. Do not attempt to draw conclusions or make diagnoses by comparing these image to other medical images, particularly your own.

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