Risks of having an angiogram?

Hello everyone

Could anyone tell me what the risks are when having an angiogram done?

Thanks. :slight_smile:

When i did mine i was told that you could have a heart attack, stroke and i cant recall the other things mentioned as i was in heavy pain and the 2nd time was after my surgery...i do recall i had to sign a form agreeig to it though.....maybe others here may be more helpful....God bless

Hello Jami
I just had my first angio at Stanford and they told me the risks were stroke, facial paralysis and death. They keep your blood pressure low and sometimes have to give you meds for that via an IV in your neck - I had it but did not remember that part of it. I am still having some head pain related to the angio/emblo- Bur I am glad I did it. I am sure the risks differ depending on the location. They told me they do look on both sides of your brain during the angiogram.
Are you going in for angiogram soon?
Hope this helps

Hi Jami. I have had two of them i was a little scared the first time only because it was my first invasive surgery ever but it was cale. I think any risks they tell us are very low for just a angio. Embo is a little different as they are using glue to create a blockage and this alone can case stroke. They will make you sign a consent for even the smallest of procedures.

The risks of having angiogram, in addition to the ones previously mentioned, are bleeding at the groin site and having a clot form and break loose. My AVM did not show up on the MRI/MRA so that is my only option for making sure the AVM has been fixed. I am scheduled to go in for my 6 month follow-up angiogram on Feb 27, 2012(actually 9 months because I waited). I struggled with this decision due to the risks of the test, however not knowing if AVM is fixed is worse because if I have another bleed I could have a stroke. After I made my decision, the Doctor said many people relax after they have the test because they are relieved.

Hi Angela,

I go tomorrow to see a Neurosurgeon. I was told quite a bit ago that I needed to have an angiogram done. I'm just so nervous about it. Thank you for your help!

Hi Brett,

Thank you for your response. Not to be nosey, but...did you have an embo done as well? If so, how was recovery, and did you have any problems? You don't have to answer if you feel I'm being too personal. Thanks, Jami

Oh my goodness, Wendy! I will be thinking about you. I too have been waiting to decide on whether or not to have the test done. Mostly because I have HHT and it just really makes me nervous! May I ask how long recovery was after your angiogram? Did you have to stay home for a couple of days to recooperate?

When I had the first angiogram I was in the hospital (intensive care) because they couldn’t find the bleed but they knew something was wrong because I had a stroke. The AVM caused me to have a stroke. Before they fixed the AVM I couldn’t speak due to the stroke. After they fixed the AVM I had left side facial paralysis, left hand damaged, and right leg limp. So you there is a reason for my fear. I had a bad bleed so I am lucky to be alive.

I will be admitted for angiogram as an outpatient. The procedure takes an 1-1.5 hours. After that, I have to lay flat for 2-6 hours, depending on how they close the artery (2 hrs if they can clamp it, 6 hours if the can’t). When I go home is it advisable to have somebody stay with me. They said I can go to work the next day but fortunately I don’t work.

I hope this is helpful.

I forgot to say that my left facial paralysis is gone. The only evidence is my left eye tears up. I hope to eliminate this via acupuncture since acupuncture has really helped me with the facial paralysis.

I have complete speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. My left hand and right foot are working so that there is no difference in strength or appearance. I am able to drive a car.

I have called my Nuerologist to ask if fixing the AVM & bleeding caused my facial paralysis or it had something to do with going up my artery. If it had something to do with the Artery, I am cancelling the angiogram. I have worked so hard for my recovery that I don’t want to go backwords.

Awww...You certainly are a trooper! Thank you for your help, and may God continue to bless you! Hugs!

Hi Jami
Good luck tomorrow. Let us know how it goes. I asked my neuro if he had ever had a stroke or facial paralysis happen to his patients while doing the angiogram and emblo. He said he had not had any patients that had any but another doctor at the hospital had. Dont be afraid to ask lots of questions - write them down so you dont forget. For me I was in the hospital for two days and felt lots of head pain for a week and a half. Its been almost three weeks and I able to function but still get tired easily. But I am also recovering from a stroke (non- related) If I were you I would opt for the angio and emblo at the same time. I just wanted to get it over with and get back to normal. I did have MRIs/MRA and they could not see it - they only saw via the MRA that my blood was flowing in the wrong direction. The doctors want to do a follow up angio which I will do but I have to go back to work soon or I fear I will loose my job. I will be thinking of you and hope you get the answers tomorrow
Good Luck

Hi Jami, Angios are fairly easy, i have had about 4 and march will be my fifth,and have to get one every 6 months after that for the next to years and then every 5 years. but i had my aneurysm collide and stented through a angio, four days later i had a stroke... but i think it was only because it was an invasive procedure. Why i had the stroke was because blood clots formed on the stent (trying to attack it because metal inst suppose to be in your body so thats why they give you tons of blood thinners!) but the blood clots broke off and which the blood thinners should had dissolved them, it didnt! of course! but i think you are safe you really shouldnt worry about anything, although i know that is easy said then done!I will pray for you if you are having one done! <3 alie

You should divide it into diagnosis (checks) and intervention (treatment).

The more stuff happens in your vasculature, the more stuff can go wrong. Additionally: It depends where (in what blood vessels) stuff takes place.


* infection (unlikely due to sterile env.)
* allergic reaction to contrast medium e.g. Iodine (very rare)
* vasospasms = spasms of blood vessels (also rare)
* bleeding of the access e.g. section of arteria femoralis (rare because it's monitored)
* stroke (catheter losens stuff from vessel walls which occludes vessels that supply your brain. risk depends on age, health of vasculature)
* heart attack (catheter losens stuff from vessel walls which occludes vessels that supply your heart. risk depends on age, health of vasculature)


same risks as listed in diagnosis plus things specific to treatment.
* blood clots around area of intervention (reason why most ppl receive low molecular weight heparin=blood thinner after treatment)
e.g. liquid embolic agent EVOH:
* non-target embolization = embolic agent occludes vessels that should not be occluded (risks depend on location of the lesion, e.g. could also cause stroke, heart attack)
* solute enduced spasms of blood vessels
glues, alcohol, stents, coils, plugs, etc. all techniques come with individual risks.

I was informed about individual risks before diagnostic and interventional anigographies.

Hey i have my MRI 1 year check up on the same day 27th Feb....i was thinking if i should have the angio instead to be 100% sure cause i keep hearing these MRI didnt show AVM comments :(

i was told it would be 1 in a 1000 chance of a bleed from having angiogram.

I have been wondering the same thing, since I have a possible AVM without any symptoms (brain lesion was discovered by accident). I'm reading that the risk of complications just with the angiogram itself is somewhat less than 1%. Furthermore, I've also read that there is something called a "CTA" - CT angiogram and an MRA - Magnetic resonance angiogram - neither of these is invasive, so they don't carry the risk of stroke, paralysis etc. Based on my lack of actual symptoms, I am going to ask my neuro if a CTA/MRA can be done as a first step. In this case, I'm comparing the risk of having the catheter angiogram to the risk of a first bleed in an AVM and they are reasonably similar, so I'm less inclined to go for the traditional angiogram. If I already had a bleed though, I would certainly go for the traditional angiogram.

frumioj-I have not had an angiogram yet and am going on over six years that I've known of my AVM-I have always done an MRA where they put contrast dye that shows the path of the blood, as my neurologist said right now this was good enough to monitor me with. If I am wanting to persue my options further though they said they would want to do an angiogram. I'm thinking of doing this possibly later this year though :/ Hope all is well!

I had an MRA which only showed blood was flowing in the wrong direction. The angio showed I am a davf with 30 connections on the artery side and one on the vein side. They could not see any of this on the MRIs and MRA. I had a great doctor Dr. Marks who has lots of experience. I am still having some head pain but I am happy that I went through with the angiogram. They did the embolism right after the angiogram so it took about 7 hours but I think most are done in 4 to 6 hours. I will have to go back in for another angiogram to make sure the glue and onyx has resolved the issue.
Good Luck in your decision

All I can remember-- and that's Not much, I had a bruise the size of a dinner plate where they did the insertion. And a terrible taste in my mouth, which I am told comes from the radioactive Iodine, and of course, there is always yet more exposure to radiation! NONE of this being scientific, just my personal experience! I do remember them telling me it is absolutely the prime choice for viewing vascular formations!