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.
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.
- Drink plenty of water to help flush the contrast medium from your body.
- Care for the insertion site as directed.
- Call your healthcare provider if you develop a lump or bleeding at the insertion site.