Interventional Radiology includes a variety of highly specialised procedures using imaging to guide biopsies, injections and other procedures.
How to Prepare?

There are general preparations plus others that might be required depending on which part of the body is to be examined. Our staff will advise you on this when you make the booking.

General preparation

  • Some procedures require fasting for 4 hours before the procedure, however some do not, and in fact drinking fluid is encouraged. Specific advice will be given to you before your procedure.
  • Bring all of your usual medication(s) (or a list of your medications) with you to your appointment.
  • Bring any relevant previous imaging (angiograms, X-rays, CT scans, ultrasound or MRIs etc.), so that the medical staff can have all relevant information available on the day.
  • It is useful to arrive at your appointment before the scheduled appointment time so that staff can obtain your medical history, collect information about your current medical problem and discuss the procedure with you.
  • You will be asked to sign a consent form indicating that you understand what is going to happen, you are happy for the procedure to be carried out and your questions have been satisfactorily answered.
  • If you have a history of kidney disease, have previously had an allergic reaction to contrast medium, suffer from any other allergies or have diabetes, you must tell staff when you make the appointment and when you attend for the procedure. This ensures that the appropriate measures are taken to carry out the procedure with maximum safety.
  • If you are taking metformin, aspirin, clopidogrel, warfarin or other blood thinning medications, you must inform staff when you make the appointment and when you attend for the procedure.
  • Make arrangements with a relative or friend to drive you home after the procedure, as you might be given medication that will make you drowsy.
  • If you live a significant distance from a hospital, it might be better in the 24 hours after the procedure, for you to stay overnight nearby.
What to expect?

What happens during Interventional Angiography?

Before the procedure you will be asked to change into a surgical gown and might be given a mild sedative to help you to relax. Occasionally, angiography procedures require general anaesthetic so that you are asleep during the procedure, but this will be discussed with you before your appointment.

 During the procedure, you will be lying on a bed. A specialist doctor will explain and carry out the procedure using X-ray images to find the abnormal blood vessel(s) and treat them if appropriate.

 Your heart beat, breathing, blood pressure, oxygen levels and other vital functions will be monitored during the procedure.

 A small cannula (tube) will be inserted into a vein in your hand or arm. The area around the artery to be accessed for the procedure is painted with antiseptic and covered to minimise infection risk.

 Local anaesthetic is given to numb the area (usually at the top of the right leg in the groin area) where a soft catheter (thin plastic tube) will be inserted into the blood vessel. In certain circumstances, the groin area is shaved before going into the angiography suite. This injection will sting initially, but quickly becomes numb. Once the area is numb, and the thin catheter inserted, contrast medium is injected to make the blood vessels visible on a screen. The contrast medium is eliminated from the body in your urine after the procedure.

When X-ray images are being taken, you need to keep very still so the images are clear, and you might be asked to hold your breath for a few seconds at a time. You might experience a hot flush (lasting a few seconds) in the area being examined when contrast medium is injected. The procedure will be fully explained, and you will be given instruction on what to do


Are there any after effects of Interventional angiography?

After the treatment, you will usually be taken to a recovery room for monitoring.

 To prevent bleeding (haematoma) from the site where the catheter was inserted, either:

  • A medical staff member might firmly press on the site for about 10 minutes, and you will lie flat for about 4 hours; or
  • A special device is used to close the wound, and you will lie flat for about 2 hours. You will be allowed to eat and drink after the procedure.

 Interventional Angiography is usually carried out as a day procedure, but it might occasionally be necessary to be admitted to hospital overnight. This is usually planned, and because of one or more of the following:

  • Other health problems you might have that require longer observation after angiography
  • You live a long way from the hospital or clinic where it would be difficult for you to reach the emergency department if bleeding occurs.
  • If there is aftercare that requires treatment or observation in hospital, then you might be advised not to go home and we will arrange for your admission and transfer to hospital.