Abdominal Angiography

General Information:

  • Description: Angiography of the abdomen is performed by injecting contrast dye into the blood vessels that supply the organs of the abdomen. By filling the vessels with dye, they can be identified and abnormalities can be detected. A radiologist and x-ray technicians perform the test in a hospital x-ray facility. The results are interpreted by the radiologist. The test takes 30-90 minutes to perform.
  • Discomfort: There is moderate discomfort associated with this test, such as; having an artery punctured for the catheter placement, lying on the x-ray table, and some experience burning with injection of the dye.
  • Results:1-2 days, within 1 hour in emergency situations.
  • Risks of Procedure: Exposure to radiation, particularly during pregnancy; reaction to the contrast dye, including kidney damage; bleeding; perforation of the artery; injury to the nerves; and blood clots that may form on the catheter and travel through the bloodstream. 
  • Other Names: Celiac and mesenteric arteriography

Indications for the Test:

  • To diagnose diseases of the blood vessels in the small and large intestines such as a narrowing that could limit blood flow
  • To identify when a tumor has invaded a blood vessel which would preclude resection of the tumor
  • To identify the site of bleeding in the abdomen and possibly stop the bleeding by injecting a plug or chemical


  • Consume only clear liquids for six to eight hours before the procedure.
  • Remove all clothing and wear a hospital gown.


  • About 30 minutes before the procedure, patient is given a sedative.
  • Your heart rate and blood pressure are monitored during the test.
  • An intravenous line is placed into your arm to provide fluids and medications necessary for the test.
  • Anesthetic is injected at the catheter insertion site and a small incision is made in the groin.
  • A catheter is inserted into the major artery in the abdomen and guided to the area to be examined with the help of an x-ray machine.
  • Contrast dye is injected through the catheter and the radiologist views the arteries while x-ray pictures are made for later interpretation.

After the Procedure:

  • The catheter is removed and a pressure dressing is applied until bleeding stops.
  • You will be instructed to lie with your legs straight for about four hours. A small sandbag is usually placed over the incision for a few hours to prevent bleeding.
  • You are monitored for at least four hours, and the puncture site will be examined for signs of bleeding or swelling.
  • If there is no bleeding after 4 hours, outpatients can leave but must be driven home.
  • Before you go home, you are taught how to apply pressure to stop any bleeding that may occur later. Any bleeding that lasts more than a few minutes requires emergency medical attention.
  • Activity should be limited for several days, particularly in the leg in which the test was performed.
  • After the test, you should drink extra fluid to aid in flushing the dye out of the body by the kidneys.

Factors Affecting Results:

  • Movement during the X-rays may cause blurred images.
  • Obesity and failure to fast before the procedure may obscure the X-rays.
  • Sometimes it is impossible to place the catheter into the specific artery that needs to be examined.


  • This is the best test for providing an excellent view of the arteries in the abdomen.


  • It is invasive.
  • It entails risks of bleeding or abnormal clotting.
  • It also entails exposure to radiation.
  • There is potential for allergic reactions to the dye.
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