Angiograms- any advice?

hey guys,

Can anyone talk me through an angiogram they’ve had done? I’m petrified of needles and don’t know what to expect. How long does it take you out for?

Thanks,

Sarah

Sarah, all of us were really scared before we had the first angio. I have had 3 now also. They give you a benadryl beforehand in case of allergies and then you are wheeled into the room which has quite a few people in it. They deaden your thigh where the tube will go into your artery after disinfecting it. That is really the only "sting" you feel. Oh- be sure to shave beforehand. They will do it there, but they like if you do it prior. Then they insert the tube into your artery, which you shouldn't feel. There are lots of screens where you can see the progress. And, oh yes, like Louisa explained, they give you a slight sedative beforehand so you are relaxed. Once the doctor wants to see the arteries better, he will tell you that you will feel heat (from the dye, not uncomfortable though) and to hold your breath. That is pretty much it throughout the test.

After they wheel you out, they take you to recovery where the tube will be taken out (again, not painful). I have heard of some people having plugs put in, but they have always just put heavy pressure on the artery for 15 minutes to make it clot. Afterwards, you have to lie completely flat for 4 hours to make sure the artery does not bleed and you are good to go.

Where the tube went in is a little painful for a few days and they tell you not to lift anything over 5 lbs. for 10 days, I think. After a few days, I was always fine.

Sorry I went into so much detail, but I think the more you know about the procedure, the safer you feel. Good luck, when is yours scheduled?

Sherri

I've had many angiogram's because I had my surgeries 14 years ago, at first I had to have them once every two years, then every five years and I think every ten years.

The only thing I want to tell you is about three weeks after one of mine I did yoga, I noticed my incision where I had my angiogram was started to hurt then I could feel a bump growing underneath turns out I tore something inside.

They had told me I could go back to my regular workouts after about a week so I didn't think doing yoga after three weeks would hurt anything but it did so be careful for awhile afterwards.

Ditto what everyone else said. Since you have to lay still and flat for quite a while after the procedure, I download an audiobook to my phone that I listened to while waiting for the clotting in my groin. It made the time pass quickly.

Piece of cake. Good luck.

I talked to my doctor and her team for quite awhile during my angiograms, and then boom - fell asleep. But my doctor likes me to be able to talk to her when she has the camera in my brain. I was laughing when I was told to be still, I wanted to see the new monitor. I’m taking in music I want to listen to in January for my next one. I’ve already warned the staff. Always take a book or tablet. I’m allergic to the contrast dye, so I take an inhaler to have with me just in case, I actually take it into the procedure room, put it on my chest so the doctor can reach it easily. I also take prednisone the day before and morning of with Benedryl taken at the hospital. I just started taking my own as it was easier and the staff chuckles. Everything else is pretty much the same as Louisa, Sherri, Patty and Laura have shared. Most important is to watch that knot. I have had to have plugs mostly because I’ve had cardio angiograms done as well and it’s the same procedure, just stopping at your heart. I have to keep my legs elevated for several days due to the plug. I can walk around, just no heavy lifting, no stairs for me for a couple of days. But I also don’t have to clean the house or do yard work for awhile. Don’t over do it when you get home.

Hi Sarah - I just had my first angiogram September 2nd and I was so scared but it wasn't a big deal after all my anxiety about it. I was just looking through my old posts and don't you know I can't find the one where I describe what took place. Sorry you will have to put up with a lost post! Anyway, big baby that I am, I'm not afraid of needles at all because as I look at it, they stick you once - just a pinch! - then any pain goes away so I'm ok with the needles! I don't like to look at it when you get the shot but I can put up with a 2 second pinch. So, they put an IV in your hand so they can give you the sedation meds and contrast as they go along. I wasn't totally sedated but what they like to call conscious sedation. A combination of Versed and Fentanyl. There are other meds they can give you but that's what my doctor chose which did the trick. One is to relax you and the other for pain. I remember at one point I closed my eyes I was so relaxed but didn't fall asleep and there was no pain whatsoever during the angiogram. Before they put the catheter in your groin they will give you some anesthetic and I did feel that a little because they had to poke around but I think that was because I'm overweight. Anyway, you are on a hard table with the fluoroscope above you but not too close to be claustrophobic. They will get those meds going and after you are relaxed and once they get the catheter where they want it to be will inject the contrast. I was told it would feel warm but it actually felt kind of hot to me. Not painful at all but it was surprising. Only for about 15 seconds do you even feel it and it's kind of like you feel flushed but then the sensation is gone. I felt it in my groin and hands which I was told was common but not in my head. Others have said they felt it in their head. They'll take a few pictures and it's no sooner over. I don't remember if they asked me to hold my breath or anything like that but I think some do that too. I think the whole thing was about 1 hour from when they prep you to the end of the procedure. I didn't feel them remove the catheter and they did use an angioseal to plug the hole in my artery. That was a little uncomfortable because they have to really press down on your groin to make sure you start to clot and I'm ticklish so wanted to squirm away but again, it's really a short time and of course you don't want to bleed so you put up with what needs to be done! The angioseal shortens your recovery time as far as how long you will need to keep your leg straight and down and think it was 3 hours for me. In recovery you can eat so that will make you feel better and then you pretty much take it easy for a few days, not lifting anything over 5-10 pounds I think it was. Damn, I wish my memory was better. Short term memory ugh! So, think over and over to yourself, one little pinch and I'll be nice and relaxed and it will be over before I know it. Best of everything with your angiogram and let us know how it goes!

everyone Is different, I was not awake, we worry our heads off but during and afterwards we all say piece of cake why was I so worried? tc keep the faith!

oh yeah, try prayer and meditation as they wheel you in. Try transporting your body to your happy place and imagine all the sights sounds and even smells, like the smell of salt air, this exercise was taught to me during chemo to keep from vomiting. it worked really well for surgery too. One lady envisioned all the faces of her loved ones, it also helps keep the mind occupied with something other than the awful internal dialogues of what ifs, tc our thoughts and prayers are with you!~~

I had 3 so far and everyone of them I insisted they put me out I think it’s the best way.you wake up and it’s done just think positive:)

Thanks so much guys. I am petrified of needles so I have been very, very nervous.

It's all come as a bit of a shock really. I last saw my consultant months ago and he said he didn't want to see me for another two years then I get a call saying I have to come in urgently for an angiogram. When I come in they said it's more than likely I'll need treatment for it. All in a few days, talk about a u-turn.

Thanks so much for the detail. Really appreciate it. Helps talking to someone who has had it done....a lot :)

Sherri Long said:

Sarah, all of us were really scared before we had the first angio. I have had 3 now also. They give you a benadryl beforehand in case of allergies and then you are wheeled into the room which has quite a few people in it. They deaden your thigh where the tube will go into your artery after disinfecting it. That is really the only "sting" you feel. Oh- be sure to shave beforehand. They will do it there, but they like if you do it prior. Then they insert the tube into your artery, which you shouldn't feel. There are lots of screens where you can see the progress. And, oh yes, like Louisa explained, they give you a slight sedative beforehand so you are relaxed. Once the doctor wants to see the arteries better, he will tell you that you will feel heat (from the dye, not uncomfortable though) and to hold your breath. That is pretty much it throughout the test.

After they wheel you out, they take you to recovery where the tube will be taken out (again, not painful). I have heard of some people having plugs put in, but they have always just put heavy pressure on the artery for 15 minutes to make it clot. Afterwards, you have to lie completely flat for 4 hours to make sure the artery does not bleed and you are good to go.

Where the tube went in is a little painful for a few days and they tell you not to lift anything over 5 lbs. for 10 days, I think. After a few days, I was always fine.

Sorry I went into so much detail, but I think the more you know about the procedure, the safer you feel. Good luck, when is yours scheduled?

Sherri

Bloomsie, I'm with you on the needles. I've always had to have an IV for my coiling and follow-up angios. That's the worst part. Tell them you have issues so they find the best nurse to insert it.

As far as the after part, I had a star clamp put in after the first coiling. I now ding the metal detectors and I have a brochure I take with me to explain. After that it's been the plug. It dissolves after a few days and it's good to lay low a bit. If you feel a hard knot under the skin the artery may be leaking, but that never happened to me. And St Anthony's in Denver had great food. And I slept a lot after I was back in my recovery room.

You're going to do fine. Breathe deeply.

The angiograms, as most people are saying, are really not bad at all. Ask them for a light sedative (they’ll probably offer it anyway). The “worst” part of it, for me, was the lying perfectly flat for 6 hours afterward. Some people mentioned 4 hours, at NYU they insist on 6. My back tends to hurt anyway, so it was uncomfortable, and a nuisance. But if I can do it, so can you :slight_smile: To help the time pass, try some music or recorded book on an iPod. My husband and parents also helped me pass the time.