Hepatic Angiography

Hepatic angiography is an imaging test. It uses X-rays to look at the blood vessels that send blood to your liver. The test uses a thin, flexible tube (catheter). The catheter is put into a blood vessel through a small cut (incision). X-ray dye (contrast medium) is then injected into the catheter. The dye makes your blood vessels show up more clearly on the X-rays. This procedure is usually done by an interventional radiologist.

Liver with arteries inside.

Risks of hepatic angiography

All procedures have some risks. The risks of this test include:

  • Bruising at the insertion site

  • Problems due to the X-ray dye, such as an allergic reaction or kidney damage

  • Damage to your artery

Getting ready for your procedure

Tell your healthcare provider if you:

  • Are pregnant or think you may be pregnant

  • Are breastfeeding

  • Are allergic to X-ray dye or other medicines

Be sure your provider knows about any medicines, herbs, or supplements you are taking. You may need to stop taking all or some of these before your test. This includes:

  • All prescription medicines

  • Over-the-counter medicines such as aspirin or ibuprofen

  • Street drugs

You may be told not to eat or drink after midnight the night before your test. Follow any other instructions from your provider.

Also make sure to have a family member or friend take you home from the hospital. You won’t be able to drive yourself.

 During your procedure

  • You will change into a hospital gown and lie on an X-ray table.

  • An IV (intravenous) line will be put in a vein in your arm or hand. You’ll receive fluids and medicines through this IV.

  • You may be given medicine to help you relax and make you sleepy (sedation).

  • You may be given medicine (local anesthesia) to numb the skin near your groin. A guide wire is then put through the skin into a large artery in your thigh (femoral artery).

  • Using X-ray images as a guide, the radiologist will  thread the wire through your arteries to your liver. A catheter is then put over the guide wire. The guide wire is then taken out.

  • X-ray dye will be injected into your artery through the catheter. This helps the arteries in your liver show clearly on X-rays.

  • You will have to keep still and sometimes hold your breath while X-ray pictures of your liver are taken. You may need to change position so that images may be taken from different angles.

  • When the test is done, the catheter is taken out. Pressure will be put on the insertion site for 10 to 15 minutes to stop bleeding.

After your procedure

  • You will be asked to lie flat with your leg stretched out for 6 hours to prevent bleeding at the insertion site.

  • You may be able to go home that day. Or you may be asked to stay in the hospital overnight. You should have a friend or family member drive you home. 

  • Drink plenty of water to help flush the X-ray dye from your body.

  • Care for the insertion site as directed by your provider.

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your provider if you have a lump or bleeding at the insertion site.


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