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If you have an irregular heart rhythm.
Pulmonary angiography is an x-ray of the blood vessels that supply the lungs. It is used to find a blood clot (pulmonary embolism) in these blood vessels. The procedure is done by a specially trained doctor called an interventional radiologist.
Do not eat or drink anything for 6 hours before the procedure.
Change into a hospital gown. Remove hair clips, jewelry, dentures, and other metal items that could show up on the x-ray.
Go to the bathroom to empty your bladder just before the procedure begins.
Lie down on the x-ray table. An IV (intravenous) line is put into your hand or arm to give you fluids or medications.
The skin over your groin is numbed with local anesthetic. A needle is then inserted into a blood vessel near the groin. The needle is then replaced with a catheter (thin, flexible tube).
Using x-ray images as a guide, the radiologist moves the catheter through blood vessels and the heart to the pulmonary artery (artery that carries blood to the lungs).
Contrast medium (x-ray dye) is injected into the artery through the catheter. This material helps the blood flow in the lungs show up better on x-rays. You may feel warmth when the contrast material is injected.
X-ray images are then taken. Remain as still as you can while the x-rays are taken. You may be asked to hold your breath for 10 to 25 seconds at a time. The technologist will tell you when to hold your breath and when to breathe.
After the x-rays are taken, the catheter is removed. Pressure will be applied to the insertion site for 5 to 10 minutes to stop bleeding.
The whole procedure may take around 1 hour.
Infection or bruising around the catheter insertion site
Problems due to contrast medium, including allergic reaction or kidney damage
Damage to a blood vessel by the catheter
Pulmonary embolism due to release of blood clots from blood vessel walls
You may remain in the hospital for a few hours after the procedure. When you go home:
Care for the puncture site as directed. This includes keeping the leg on that side straight for 6 hours after the procedure.
Drink plenty of fluids to help flush the contrast fluid from your system.