St. Luke's Hospital
Located in Chesterfield, MO
Main Number: 314-434-1500
Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia


    Extremity angiography

    Angiography of the extremity; Peripheral angiography; Lower extremity angiogram; Peripheral angiogram; Arteriography of the extremity

    Extremity angiography is a test used to see the arteries in the hands, arms, feet, or legs. It is also called peripheral angiography.

    Angiography uses x-rays and a special dye to see inside the arteries. Arteries are blood vessels that carry blood away from the heart.

    How the Test is Performed

    This test is done in a hospital. You will lie on an x-ray table. You may ask forsome medicine tomake you sleep and relaxed(sedative)if you are anxious about the test.

    The health care provider will shave and clean an area, usually in the groin.

    • A numbing medicine (anesthetic) is injected into the skin over an artery.
    • A needle is placed into that artery.
    • A thin plastic tube called a catheter passed through the needle into the artery. The health care provider moves it into the area of the body being studied. The doctor can see live images of the area on a TV-like monitor, and uses them as a guide.
    • Dyeflows through the catheter.
    • X-ray images are taken of the artery.

    Certain treatments can be done during this procedure.These treatments include:

    • Dissolving a blood clot with medicine
    • Opening a partially blocked artery with a balloon
    • Placing a small tube called a stent into an artery to help hold it open

    The health care team will check your pulse (heart rate), blood pressure, and breathing during the procedure.

    Thecatheter is removed when the test is done. Pressure is placed on the areafor 10 - 15 minutes to stop any bleeding.A bandage is then put on the wound.

    The arm or leg where the needle was placed should be kept straight for 6 hours after the procedure. You should avoid strenuous activity, such as heavy lifting, for 24 - 48 hours.

    How to Prepare for the Test

    You should not eat or drink anything for 6 - 8 hours before the test.

    You may be told to stop taking certain medications such as aspirin or other blood thinners for a short while before the test.Never stop taking any medicines unless told to do so by your health care provider.

    Make sure your health care provider knows about all the medicines you take, including those bought without a prescription. This includes herbs and supplements.

    Tell your health care provider if you:

    • Arepregnant
    • Are allergic to any medications
    • Have ever had an allergic reaction to x-ray contrast material or iodine substances
    • Have ever had any bleeding problems

    How the Test Will Feel

    The x-ray table is hard and cold. You may want to ask for a blanket or pillow. You may feel some stinging when the numbing medicine is injected. You may also feel some pressure as the catheter is moved.

    The dye can cause a feeling of warmth and flushing. This is normal and usually goes away in a few seconds.

    You may have tenderness and bruising at the site of the catheter insertion after the test.Seek immediate medical help if you have:

    • Swelling
    • Bleeding that doesn't go away
    • Severe pain in an arm or leg

    Why the Test is Performed

    Your doctor may order this test if you have symptoms of a narrowed or blocked blood vessel in the arms, hands, legs, or feet.

    The test may also be done to diagnose:

    • Bleeding
    • Swelling or inflammation of the blood vessels (angiitis)

    Normal Results

    The x-ray shows normal structures for the age of the patient.

    What Abnormal Results Mean

    An abnormal result is common due tonarrowing and hardening of the arteries in the arms or legs due to plaque build-up (hardening of the arteries) in the artery walls.

    The x-ray may show a blockage in the vessels caused by:

    • Aneurysms (abnormal widening or ballooning of part of an artery)
    • Blood clots
    • Other diseases of the arteries

    Abnormal results may also be due to:

    • Inflammation of the blood vessels
    • Injury to the blood vessels
    • Thromboangiitis obliterans (Buerger's disease)
    • Takayasu's disease


    Complications may include:

    • Allergic reaction to the contrast dye
    • Blood clot that travels to the lungs
    • Damage to the blood vessel as the needle and catheter are inserted
    • Excessive bleeding or a blood clot where the catheter is inserted, which can reduce blood flow to the leg
    • Heart attack or stroke
    • Hematoma -- a collection of blood at the site of the needle puncture
    • Injury to the nerves at the needle puncture site
    • Kidney damage from the dye

    There is low-level radiation exposure. However, most experts feel that the risk of most x-rays is smaller than other risks we take every day. Pregnant women and children are more sensitive to the risks of the x-ray.


    Jackson JE, Allison DJ, Meaney J. Angiography: Principles, techniques (including CTA and MRA) and complications. In: Grainger RC, Allison D, Dixon AK, eds. Diagnostic Radiology: A Textbook of Medical Imaging. 5th ed. New York, NY: Churchill Livingstone; 2008:chap 6.

    Morgan RA, Belli A-M, Munneke G. Peripheral vascular disease. In: In: Grainger RC, Allison D, Dixon AK, eds. Diagnostic Radiology: A Textbook of Medical Imaging. 5th ed. New York, NY: Churchill Livingstone; 2008:chap 28.


          A Closer Look

            Self Care

              Tests for Extremity angiography

              Review Date: 12/10/2012

              Reviewed By: Javed Qureshi, MD, American Board of Radiology, Victoria Radiology Associates, Victoria, TX. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

              The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

              A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and chrome browser.

              Back  |  Top
              About Us
              Contact Us
              Locations & Directions
              Quality Reports
              Annual Reports
              Honors & Awards
              Community Health Needs

              Brain & Spine
              Sleep Medicine
              Urgent Care
              Women's Services
              All Services
              Patients & Visitors
              Locations & Directions
              Find a Physician
              Tour St. Luke's
              Patient & Visitor Information
              Contact Us
              Payment Options
              Financial Assistance
              Send a Card
              Mammogram Appointments
              Health Tools
              My Personal Health
              Spirit of Women
              Health Information & Tools
              Clinical Trials
              Employer Programs -
              Passport to Wellness

              Classes & Events
              Classes & Events
              Spirit of Women
              Donate & Volunteer
              Giving Opportunities
              Physicians & Employees
              For Physicians
              Remote Access
              Medical Residency Information
              Pharmacy Residency Information
              Physician CPOE Training
              St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
              Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Notice of Privacy Practices PDF  |  Patient Rights PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile