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Hepatic Angiography

Hepatic angiography is an X-ray study of the blood vessels that supply the liver. The procedure uses a catheter (thin, flexible tube) that is placed into a blood vessel through a small incision. A specially trained doctor called an interventional radiologist usually does the procedure.

Liver with arteries inside.

Before the Procedure

Follow any instructions you are given on how to prepare, including:

  • Do not eat or drink anything for 6 hours before the test.

  • Tell the technologist what medications, herbs, or supplements you take; if you are, or may be, pregnant; or if you are allergic to contrast medium (X-ray dye) or other medications.

During the Procedure

  • You will change into a hospital gown and lie on an X-ray table.

  • An IV (intravenous) line is put into a vein to give you fluids and medications. You may be given medication to help you relax and make you sleepy.

  • A local anesthetic may be given to numb the skin near your groin. A guide wire is then inserted through the skin into the femoral artery.

  • Using X-ray images as a guide, the radiologist threads the wire through the arteries to the liver. A catheter is then inserted over the guide wire. The guide wire is then removed.

  • Contrast medium is injected into the artery through the catheter. This helps the arteries in the liver show clearly on X-rays.

  • You will be asked to keep still and sometimes hold your breath while X-ray pictures of your liver are taken. You may need to change position so that images may be taken from different angles.

  • When the test is done, the catheter is removed. Pressure is put on the insertion site for 10 to 15 minutes to stop bleeding.

Potential Risks and Complications

  • Bruising at insertion site

  • Problems due to contrast medium, including allergic reaction or kidney damage

  • Damage to the artery

After the Procedure

  • You will be asked to lie flat with your leg extended for 6 hours to prevent bleeding at the insertion site.

  • You may be able to go home that day, or you may be asked to stay in the hospital overnight. You should have a friend or family member drive you home. 

  • Drink plenty of water to help flush the contrast medium from your body.

  • Care for the insertion site as directed.

  • Call your health care provider if you develop a lump or bleeding at the insertion site.

 

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