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Angiography

Find out about the side effects and complications associated with angiography, and when to get medical help.

Angiography is generally a very safe procedure, although minor side effects are common and there's a small risk of serious complications.

The test will only be done if the benefits of having the procedure are felt to outweigh any potential risk.

Speak to your doctor about the risks involved with having an angiogram.

Side effects

After an angiogram, many people have:

  • bruising
  • soreness
  • a very small bump or collection of blood near where the cut was made

These problems should improve in a few days or weeks and aren't usually anything to worry about.

You can take painkillers such as paracetamol for any discomfort if you need to.

Complications

Most people who have an angiogram won't experience any complications, but there is a small chance of minor or serious complications occurring.

Possible minor complications include:

  • an infection where the cut was made, causing the area to become red, hot, swollen and painful¬†‚Äď this may need to be treated with antibiotics
  • a mild reaction to the dye, such as an¬†itchy rash¬†‚Ästthis can usually be controlled¬†with medication

Possible serious complications include:

  • kidney damage due to the dye¬†‚Äď this is usually temporary
  • a heart attack¬†or¬†stroke
  • damage to¬†a blood vessel, causing¬†internal bleeding¬†‚Ästfurther surgery may be needed¬†to repair¬†the damage¬†
  • a serious allergic reaction to the dye (anaphylaxis), causing dizziness, breathing difficulties or loss of consciousness

These serious complications are very rare. For example, an estimated 1 in 1,000 people will have a stroke, and approximately 1 in 50,000 to 150,000 people will develop anaphylaxis.

When to get medical help

Contact your GP or the hospital for advice if:

  • the cut starts bleeding and¬†doesn't stop after applying pressure for a few minutes
  • you have severe pain not relieved by painkillers
  • your skin becomes red, swollen and hot
  • the leg or arm where the cut was made looks or feels different to the other leg or arm¬†‚Äď for example, it looks pale or feels cold
  • a firm, tender lump develops near where the cut was made
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