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  • Frequently Asked Questions

    • Who performs angiograms?
      At Rhode Island Hospital, all angiograms are performed by board-certified radiologists who have completed subspecialty training in vascular and interventional radiology.
    • What do I have to do before the procedure?
      Follow these steps
    • What time do I show up at the hospital?
      If you are to be admitted to the hospital, arrive at the admitting area at 7 a.m. If you are not to be admitted, your referring physician's office should have told you what time to arrive for your appointment. If there are still questions, please phone us at 401-444-5194.
    • Where do I go ?
      Those patients who will be admitted to Rhode Island Hospital should park in Public Parking Lot A, across from the Jane Brown building, and enter under the green awning at the entrance marked "Admitting." Follow signs to the admission department to register. You will then be given directions to the angiography department (also called vascular and interventional radiology). If you will not be admitted, register on the 2nd floor of the Ambulatory Patient Care (APC) building (see map).
    • What happens after I arrive at the Angiography department ?
      You will be interviewed by a nurse in the prep and holding unit. He/she will ask questions about your medical history. Some people find it helpful to bring along a friend or family member to help remember details of their medical history. Again, a list of medications and their doses is important. The nurse will start an intravenous line in your arm or hand. This will allow us to give you fluid and anesthetic medication.

      A physician will also speak with you in the prep and holding unit. He/She will perform a physical examination, ask you questions and explain the angiography procedure in detail. The risks and benefits of the procedure will be reviewed as well as possible alternative therapies. After all of your questions have been answered, you will be asked to sign a consent form, a statement that you agree to have the angiographic procedure performed. You will then be brought into the procedure room.
    • Who will be in the procedure room ?
      During your procedure, you will hear the voices of many people. The radiologist will be performing the actual procedure. He/she will have at least one assistant who is also a physician. Also in the room will be a specially trained radiology technologist who will run the x-ray equipment. There will be a nurse in the room at all times. The nurse will place basic monitoring equipment on you and administer the intravenous sedative. During the procedure, the nurse will speak to you frequently and answer any questions and take care of any concerns you may have.
    • What happens during the procedure?
      Usually, the catheter is introduced into a blood vessel in the upper leg. Occasionally, we will use a vessel in the arm. The skin is cleansed with iodine soap and a sterile blanket is placed over you. We then use a tiny needle to numb the skin with lidocaine (a drug that resembles novocaine used by dentists). You may feel a mild burning when we inject the lidocaine medicine, but whatever burns will be numb in just a few seconds. After this, you shouldn't feel any discomfort.

      We then enter the blood vessel near the groin with a small needle and exchange that needle for a catheter. A catheter is a very thin tube that is the size of a piece of spaghetti. Using the x-ray machine, the catheter is advanced into the blood vessel to be studied.

      Once the catheter is positioned, we inject x-ray contrast  and obtain x-rays. Most patients don't feel the contrast, others report a warm feeling when we inject it. The average time you will be on the x-ray table for a diagnostic procedure is about an hour and a half.
    • What happens after the procedure?
      After the study is completed, you will be brought back to the recovery room. The catheter is removed and we put pressure on the site to prevent a large bruise or hematoma from forming. After 15 minutes of compression, it is very important that you lay flat with your legs straight for up to eight hours to allow the blood vessel to heal. Once the effects of sedative medications have worn off, you will be able to drink clear liquids, then eat a meal.

      Patients being admitted to the hospital for overnight stay will be transferred to their room. Patients going home will remain in the recovery room for up to 8 hours, then discharged to home with written and oral instructions. Phone numbers will be provided for 24-hour-a-day access to an interventional radiologist should you have any questions. You will be unable to drive yourself home, so please make arrangements for a ride home.
    • How will I get the results of the exam?
      After the scan is finished, one of our board-certified radiologists will interpret the study and send a report to your doctor within 24 hours.

    For more information about vascular and interventional radiology at Rhode Island Hospital, call 401-444-5194 or e-mail