Angiography is a radiological procedure to examine the arteries or veins. Blood vessels cannot be seen in general X-ray examination. Contrast medium will be injected into your blood vessels to visualize the arteries or vein in the area of interest.

angiography_1 angiography_2

Picture1: Blood Circulation of the body


Picture2: Blood circulation of the head


How Can I Get This Examination Done And Where?

  • The doctor you are seeing will decide if you need the examination.
  • If necessary, the doctor will make a request for the examination using ‘Request Form For Radiological Examination’.
  • This examination is available in selected Ministry of Health hospitals.

Types Of Angiography Examination

  • There are various types of angiography examination depending on the area of examination such as:

– cerebral/ carotid angiography – to examine blood vessels in the head and neck.

– coronary angiography – to examine blood vessels, valves and chambers of the heart.

– pulmonary angiography – to examine blood vessels in the lungs.

– peripheral angiography – to examine blood vessels of the upper and lower extremities.

– renal angiography – to examine blood vessels of the kidneys.

  • Angiography is also used to:

– find the cause of bleeding in the body.

– detect blood clots in the body.

– assess/ view changes to organs of the body due to injury.

  • To plan for surgery and repair of of arterial dissections. In some cases a method known as interventional radiology will be used.
  • Angioplasty which is a procedure that involves inserting a small balloon or tube called stents through a catheter to open narrowed arteries.

Preparation For Angiography Examination

  • You will be admitted into the ward 1 or 2 days before the examination so as to prepare for the procedure which requires close monitoring.
  • Please do not bring any jewellery or valuables.

While in the ward

  • The site of insertion of the catheter (groin for femoral artery, upper arm for brachial artery) will be shaved.
  • Blood pressure will be monitored and blood tests will be done.
  • You will not be allowed to eat and drink for 6 – 8 hours before the examination.
  • You will need to sign a consent form to undergo the examination.
  • The examination will take between 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on the complexity of the case.

Before the examination

  • The radiographer will explain the procedure and instructions that will need to be followed.
  • The radiographer will check:

– your medical history.

– if you are allergic to any food or medicine..

– if you are on medication.

– your blood test result.

Information obtained will be communicated to the radiologist performing the examination.

During the examination

  • You will be brought into the examination room (Picture 3).

angiography_3Picture3: Examples of Angiography


  • You will be asked to lie down on the examination table. Immobilising device will be used prevent movement during the examination.
  • You will be conscious throughout the examination.
  • The radiologist will insert a thin tube called a catheter in the groin (femoral artery) or the arm (brachial artery) for contrast media injection.
  • This procedure is not painful, you may feel a warm sensation or bitterness in the mouth during the injection of contrast media.
  • You will be asked to breathe in and hold your breath for a few seconds and a series of X-ray images will be recorded.
  • When the examination is completed the catheter will be removed. Slight pressure will be applied at the catheter insertion site to prevent bleeding.

After the examination

  • After the examination you will be sent back to the ward for observation.
  • You will be allowed to eat and drink after the examination if there is no complication.


  • Images acquired during the examination will be viewed by the radiologist who will then report the examination.



Last Reviewed : 2 June 2016
Translator : Daud bin Ismail
Accreditor : Jasintha S. Sangarapillai