• Follow us on

Angiogram - Angioplasty - Stents


At Mater, we understand that having an operation or procedure can be a very stressful experience. This brochure aims to alleviate some of your concerns, in keeping with our Mission to offer compassionate, quality care that promotes dignity while responding to patients' needs. It explains the general day to day events that may occur during your visit and the things to expect following your discharge.

Each person may require different treatments. This brochure is intended as a guide only.

If you have any questions about your treatment please ask your doctor or nurse.Our pastoral care team offers a caring support network to all patients. The dedicated members of this team will visit you during your stay and are available to discuss any anxieties or problems at your request.

Angiogram, angioplasty and stents

Angiogram is a specialised x-ray which looks for disease in the blood vessels. This procedure is performed in the medical imaging department of Mater Hospital Brisbane under a local anaesthetic.

You may be given a mild sedative into your vein prior to your procedure, which will help you relax. Local anaesthetic numbs the area where a thin catheter tube will be inserted. The catheter tube will be inserted into either the groin (femoral) artery or the upper arm (brachial) artery.

On insertion of the catheter, x-ray pictures guide the doctor for positioning the catheter, radiological contrast media is then injected down the catheter into your blood vessels and you may experience hot flushing or cramps for a few seconds. Occasionally there may be a sensation of wanting to pass urine but this will soon pass.

This contrast reveals any blockages or narrowing of blood vessels. Images of the arteries are then recorded on a digital x-ray which will be reviewed by your radiologist. You may be asked to hold your breath for a few seconds keeping as still as possible while the x-ray pictures are being taken.

Angioplasty is a procedure which can follow an angiogram. A tube with a deflated balloon is inserted into your blood vessel. Once the balloon has reached the area of the blockage or narrowing it is inflated. The inflation of the balloon stretches out the vessel aiming to improve blood flow through the area.

Stent is small metal mesh placed in the blocked or narrowed blood vessel that expands permanently to keep the area open allowing more blood to flow through. This is used when the diseased blood vessels cannot be kept open with an angioplasty alone.

The time required for the angiogram will vary with individual circumstances but a routine angiogram typically takes approximately 30 to 45 minutes with a recovery time of approximately four hours.

Angioplasty and insertion of stents may take from 30 to 90 minutes to perform and require an overnight stay.

Please note: The contrast solution used in this procedure contains Iodine. If you have an allergy to Iodine or local anaesthetic, please inform your radiologist prior to this procedure.

Possible risks and complications of an angiogram/angioplasty/stent

Your doctor would have discussed the risks of this procedure with you. The common risks include: Minor bruising at the puncture site, the artery can become narrowed or blocked again and major bruising or swelling at the puncture site.

Less common and rare risks would include requiring surgery to repair the groin puncture site or blood vessel, a minor reaction or an allergic reaction to the contrast media, loss of kidney function due to side effects of the contrast media. Death as a result of this procedure is very rare.

Things to do before your procedure

  • It is important for you to have all the tests, which your doctor has ordered, completed prior to coming to hospital. There could be a delay to your procedure if these tests have not been completed.
  • It is important to follow the instructions provided to you by your doctor in regards to taking your medications.
    • If you are on anticoagulant therapy your doctor may have ordered this to be stopped.
    • If you are on metformin therapy, it is important to follow your doctor's instructions regarding when to stop taking this medication.
    • If one of your medications is a diuretic do not take this medication on the morning of your procedure.
    • If you are having an angioplasty or stents, aspirin is usually ordered to be taken.

Your procedure may need to be cancelled if these instructions have not been followed as requested.

Remember to bring all your medications with you

  • For an angiogram it is important to stop eating and drinking at least four hours prior to your procedure. On admission, you will need to let your nurse know when you last had anything to eat or drink. This is purely for the purpose of information in case of an emergency.
  • For an angioplasty or stent procedure it is important that you stop eating and drinking at least six hours prior to your procedure.
  • It is important for you to shower, cleaning your skin well and in particular your groin area, and dress into clean clothes prior to coming into hospital. No skin products are to be used following your shower (e.g. deodorant, perfume, body lotion, powder).
  • As Mater Hospital Brisbane is unable to accept liability for losses it is highly recommended that you leave your valuables at home for safety and security purposes. Please bring essential items only. While the Mater does not take responsibility for your personal belongings our Security Office will hold any lost property that is handed in.
  • If having an Angiogram arrange for a friend or relative to accompany you home and stay with you overnight on the day of your procedure. It is important that you do not drive yourself home.
  • If having an Angioplasty/Stent: Expect to be staying overnight for this procedure and be transferred to the transit lounge around 7 am the morning following your procedure. Arrange for your family/friend to take you home or accompany you home in a taxi.
  • Read this brochure and have it ready to bring with you to hospital.

After your procedure

  • Prior to leaving the medical imaging department the staff will assess for a haematoma at the puncture site.
  • On arrival back to the day procedure unit your nurse will take frequent observations (pulse, blood pressure etc.). Your angiogram puncture site will be assessed frequently.
  • Immediately following your procedure, you will be resting in bed with a 15 to 30 degrees head elevation. It is important that you do not sit-up and do not bend your leg with the puncture site/s. Sitting up and bending will put strain on your puncture site/s and can increase the chance of bleeding. You will remain on bed rest for four hours. Following the four hours you will need to be supervised when you first get up. It is important that your nurse assesses the puncture site for bleeding or a haematoma after you first get up. Changing positions can cause bleeding or a haematoma to develop.
  • The cannula will remain insitu until discharge is confirmed and will be removed just prior to you going home.
  • It is important to drink about two litres of water after your procedure to flush the contrast media out of your system.

In preparation of going home

For the angiogram procedure you can expect to go home anytime after four hours on the day of your procedure once your condition is stable. It is important that you have someone stay with you overnight.

For the angioplasty/stent procedure you will be staying overnight and will be transferred to the transit lounge around 7 am the following morning.

You will be ready to go home when you are mobilising; eating and drinking; there is no wound swelling, haematoma or bleeding from the puncture site/s; you do not have a temperature; your extremity pulses are present; your circulation observations are stable and your pain is controlled.

What to expect when you go home

  • Some pain/discomfort at your puncture site may be experienced.
  • You can take analgesia as discussed with your doctor or nurse e.g. Paracetamol–however do not take any more than eight tablets within a 24 hour period.
  • Continue to drink up to two litres of fluid, during your waking hours, for 24 hours following your procedure.
  • It is required that you go home from hospital with someone to drive you home or accompany you home in a taxi.
  • Avoid heavy lifting and any strenuous activity for one week after the procedure.
  • Keep an eye on the puncture site over the next week. The best time to check it is in the mornings prior to you getting up. Observe for any increase in swellings or fresh drainage. If you have bleeding from the puncture site—apply pressure for 10 minutes.
  • You may shower once you are home; it is advisable to avoid baths for at least a week while your puncture wound heals.
  • Remove your dressing after 24 hours.


If you have any concerns regarding swelling, bleeding, pain or your dressing please contact:

  • Mater Hospital Brisbane Day Procedure Unit 07 3163 3730
  • Mater Hospital Brisbane Emergency Department : 07 3163 8111
  • Or your GP.


Staff of Mater Hospital Brisbane, Raymond Terrace, South Brisbane, Q 4101

Reference: Queensland Government: Queensland Health.

Copyright © 2015 Misericordiae Health Services Brisbane Limited ACN 096 708 922

Mater acknowledges consumer consultation in the development of this patient information.
Mater Doc Num: PI-CLN-420003
Last modified 08/8/2017.
Consumers were consulted in the development of this patient information.
Last consumer engagement date: 04/8/2015
Share this pageAdd to Twitter Add to Facebook Add to LinkedIn Add to Google Bookmarks

Mercy. Dignity. Care. Commitment. Quality


Was this information helpful?


 Security code

Please note: we will endeavour to respond to your enquiry within five (5) business days.