The Angiogram

Originally Published on 03/05/18 at 6:55pm

I had my angiogram today, and it was about as fun as would be expected. My vascular doctor does not do this procedure, so it was done by an interventional radiology specialist, and he was a really great doctor. I have to say the staff at Lutheran General Radiology is five stars, they are always the best. This was a weird test, even for the doctors and nurses. Everyone seemed to be making it up as they went along, and it turns out most of them were. They said they probably do this test one time per year, so they didn’t really have any special equipment for it, and that meant I would be sitting on a ladder taking X-Rays before too long!

Me and John before the test

The last time I had this test done, it was 48 hours after major surgery, and they had me pretty well sedated, but not completely. Today, because I would have to get up and move around for the test, I had to be wide awake, which was not fun!

Just to let you know the only medical training I have is being a licenced Internet doctor (google, WebMD, etc.) , so please do not get mad if I misuse medical terms, or get things wrong. I’m trying to explain to the best of my ability, and the Dr. who performed the procedure today said I explained my anatomy perfect, so I must be learning.

For the angiogram, they went in through my femoral artery on the right side and fed the catheter up to my left subclavian artery. They then put dye into specific areas and took X-ray pictures of the blood flow. This shows the doctor any potential blockages or clots. They made me change a lot of different positions to see if the different arm/neck positions changed the blood flow. After they had given me a small dose of fentanyl they had me get up off the bed to sit in a “chair” to take some pictures. Before I could even make it over there I started pouring blood out of my incision, and the doctor had to put a stitch in so I wouldn’t keep bleeding. It’s an artery, so that can be really dangerous. After getting stitched up I headed back to the chair, with 50 tubes coming off me and two escorts on either side, and my butt hanging out of the back of the blood soaked gown, this must have been a sight to see! Poor Dr. Park!

The “chair” was a small metal ladder with a towel on it. This was the part they do once per year, so they didn’t have any special equipment. The ladder was too tall to get the X-Ray the doctor wanted so they brought in an office chair. Again with my escorts helping me up and down, and my butt hanging out of my bloody gown. I had to do a few positions in the chair, and then it was too low and it was back to the step ladder. Up and down, up and down, by the time I got back to the table my stitch had come out and I was bleeding again.

I think I am seeing another pattern here, if there is anything that can go wrong, it definitely will for me! The doctor stitched it back up and finished up the tests on the table.

After the test I had to lay flat and still for 3 hours. I couldn’t lift my head, or move my right leg at all. It was a very long 3 hours. I don’t think I will get the “official” report/results for 1-2 days, but the doctor who performed the test said he didn’t see anything significant that was causing the compression/pain. I hope he is wrong and once my vascular surgeon takes a look at the x-rays I should have a better idea of what we will do next. The waiting continues…..

This is what the imaging they take during an angiogram looks like


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