Abdominal Aortogram


This procedure finds areas in your blood vessels where they are narrowing or closing. An aortogram may also be used to evaluate an abdominal aneurysm.


  • You will lie on an x-ray table with machines all around you. You will have a blood pressure cuff on your arm, a clip on your finger to make sure you are getting enough oxygen, and wires on your legs and arms to check your heart rate.
  • The nurse will give you pain medication and a sedative, which will help you relax, before the procedure. The nurse will give you more medication if needed. You will feel relaxed, but you will be awake so that you can follow instructions.
  • The area where the doctor will be working will be cleaned and shaved. You will be covered with sterile drapes from your shoulders to your feet.
  • The doctor will numb the area in the groin or the arm and insert a tiny, flexible tube called a catheter.
  • The radiologist will guide the tube in to a large artery in your stomach and inject X-ray dye.  The dye may cause a burning feeling in your legs, but it will pass in 20 to 30 seconds.  It is important to hold still during this time. You will not feel the tube move inside your artery.
  • The technologist will tell you to hold your breath and stay still during the pictures (about 10 seconds for each picture).


  • The radiologist or nurse will remove the catheter and hold the site for 15 to 20 minutes to prevent bleeding. If the catheter was in your groin, you will need to lie flat without raising your leg for about four hours.
  • The head of the bed may be tilted a little to help you rest. You will be able to bend the other leg to relieve pressure on your back, or the nurse may roll you on your side. If you develop back pain, the doctor can give you medication to help you feel better. Your nurse will help you with any personal needs.
  • Call the nurse right away if you feel any chest discomfort, back pain, or wetness in the area where the catheter was.
  • Your nurse will check your blood pressure, heart rate, heart rhythm, and pulse in the area near the catheter insertion.
  • You will receive IV fluids to flush the dye from your system.
  • You may eat one hour after the procedure if you have had no problem drinking fluids. 
  • If you need to cough or sneeze, apply pressure to the catheter site first to protect it.
  • If you are an outpatient, you may leave after a 5 hour recovery period. You will need someone to drive you home.