What Is Aortic Angiography?

Aortic angiography is a surgical procedure, also known as an angiogram. This test is performed to detect defects and dysfunctions in the aorta, the largest artery; it is responsible for delivering oxygenated blood to the entire body.

Why Is Aortic Angiography Performed?

Your doctor will order an aortic angiography if they suspect any problems with your aorta, including:

  • Ballooning out of the aorta (Aneurysm)
  • Bleeding in aorta walls (Aortic dissection)
  • Blood returning to the ventricle (Aortic regurgitation)
  • Congenital heart defects
  • Inflammation of the aorta
  • Injury or trauma to the aorta from trauma or other problems
  • Peripheral artery disease
  • Recurring chest pain

Angiograms are typically done as a follow-up of MRIs, CT scans, or ultrasounds.

The Risks of Aortic Angiography

Like any surgical procedure, this procedure carries some risks, including the possibility of infection or complications with bleeding and clotting. Risks may include:

  • Allergic reaction to the dye
  • Blockage of the artery
  • Blood clots
  • Bruising
  • Heart attack
  • Infection
  • Injury to the aorta
  • Irregular heart rhythms
  • Kidney damage
  • Stroke
  • Tear in the artery


The doctor will inject a special dye to enhance visibility into your arteries. Then through X-rays doctor will look for potential problems such as defects and blood flow abnormalities in the aorta.

  1. Wear a comfortable, loose-fitting, two-piece outfit.
  2. Fast for four hours before your screening.
  3. Make sure the meal you eat four hours before your screening.
  4. Full physical examination
  5. Let the doctor know about all medications or supplements.
  6. It is fasting for 12 hours before the procedure, limiting liquids, and stopping any medications that affect blood clotting.
  7. The doctor will give further instructions accordingly.
  8. The doctor or nurse will provide you with sedatives and possibly anesthesia via an IV.

How Aortic Angiography Is Performed

To perform this procedure:

  • The angiogram takes about an hour.
  • The doctor will inject a dye into your arteries to view them by X-ray.
  • The doctor will make a small incision in your groin and install a short plastic tube called a sheath to keep the incision open.
  • The doctor will insert a thin tube or catheter and guide it up through your arteries into your aorta.
  • The doctor reaches the appropriate part of your aorta; they will release dye through the catheter. As the paint is removed, the doctor will watch how it travels through your arteries on an X-ray, looking for any blockages, changes in the aorta, or abnormal blood flow.
  • The catheter is removed, pressure will be applied to prevent excessive bleeding, and a bandage will be used.
  • Then, you will transfer to a separate room and will have to lie flat for several hours to prevent bleeding
  • You will be monitored and given plenty of fluids to help flush the dye out of your system.

After Aortic Angiography

Recovery should be quick, and you should be able to resume your regular activities. However, you may need to avoid heavy lifting and driving for a few days. If there are complications, you may need to stay in the hospital, though complications are rare.

Your doctor will tell you the results and if you need other tests or procedures, plus how to take care of the incision and infection if that is the case.

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