Endovascular Procedures

Endovascular procedures are performed in the catheter lab under sterile conditions. The procedure commences with a diagnostic angiogram, and based on the findings, a decision is made on whether intervention is possible, and if so whether this is accomplished with balloon angioplasty alone, or with a stent.

What is an angiogram?

An angiogram is a special x-ray which looks at your arteries to see if they are narrowed or blocked. It provides valuable information so that decisions on the best way to manage your arteries can be made.

How is the procedure performed?

The angiogram is performed in a Catheter Laboratory. The procedure is performed under a local anaesthetic, though an anaesthetist will be in attendance to provide sedation if required.

The groin area is prepared with iodine and sterile drapes are applied. The area is numbed with local anaesthetic and a small plastic tube or sheath is inserted, and a Catheter advanced into the artery.

Contrast dye, which can be seen under the x-ray, is injected rapidly through the Catheter into the artery, and a series of x-rays are undertaken. This process may cause a warm unpleasant sensation in your pelvis and legs, which lasts only a few seconds. You will be asked to keep perfectly still.

A number of injections may be required to complete the examination. The x-ray machine can be moved around your body to view the arteries from a number of positions.

Based on the findings, a decision is made whether to treat with Balloon Angioplasty, and/or to place a stent in the artery.

At the completion of the procedure, the sheath is removed from the groin and pressure is applied to the area for 10-15 minutes to enable the artery to seal and therefore prevent excessive bruising.

Allergic reaction to the contrast is very rare but can be life-threatening. Please inform our office and the hospital immediately of any allergy to Iodine.

How long does the procedure take?

The procedure lasts 30-60 minutes. You will be required to remain in bed for 4 hours following the procedure to ensure that the artery remains sealed and bruising is kept to a minimum.

Will I require medications?

Depending on what is done, you may require new medications. If a stent is used, you will be commenced on a blood thinner (Plavix), and may be commenced on a short course of antibiotics. This will be explained to you.

When can patients go home?

If the Nursing Staff are happy that all is well, you will then be allowed to go home 4 hours after the completion of the procedure. You will not be able to drive and therefore must make suitable arrangements to be taken home. In addition, you should arrange for someone to be with you until the following morning in case you need assistance.

Please ensure that you have a follow-up appointment within two weeks of the procedure. If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact the Rooms.

Are there any potential complications?

Bruising over the puncture site can occur, but is usually not a problem and fades away within a few days.

Damage to the artery is possible, but fortunately, this is exceedingly rare. This can result in blockage to the artery and the need for operative correction.

Allergic reaction to the contrast is very rare but can be life-threatening. Please inform our office and the hospital immediately of any allergy to Iodine.

Kidney damage can occur, especially in the kidneys are already functioning poorly. For that reason, a blood test to check kidney function is performed prior to the procedure.

Do I need to stop any medications?

Warfarin must be ceased 3 days prior to the procedure.
Some diabetic medications such as Metformin, Diabex or Diaformin needs to be withheld for 3 days.
Aspirin can be continued.

If you have any queries, please contact our experienced team.