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Angiogram/ Fistulogram and Angioplasty of Your AV Fistula or Graft

​​What is an angiogram/fistulogram?

An angiogram/fistulogram is an x-ray used to look inside your dialysis access. It's done to look for any narrowing or blockage in the access. Dye or carbon dioxide may be used in this procedure.

Why do I need an angiogram/fistulogram?

You may need this procedure because:

  • there is less blood flow to your access
  • you're having problems with your dialysis treatments because of your access
  • you're having symptoms that may be caused by your access

Before the procedure

  • You must sign a consent form before the procedure.

The day of the procedure

  • Tell the nurse or doctor if you have any allergies to medications or IV contrast dye.
  • Follow the instructions given to you by the radiology booking office or dialysis unit.
  • Have someone drive you home after the procedure, as you may receive medications to help with pain.

During the procedure

  • A long, narrow catheter will be put into your access.
  • Contrast dye will be added into the catheter. You may feel a brief warm, flushed sensation in the area when the dye is added (infused).
  • X-rays will be taken.

What if I need an angioplasty?

  • An angioplasty is a way to fix a blood vessel that has become narrow.
  • If you need an angioplasty, an inflatable balloon will be inserted through the catheter.
  • The balloon is inflated where the narrowing is.
  • You may feel some discomfort when the balloon is inflated.
  • The angioplasty usually takes about 1 hour.
  • One stitch may be placed at the insertion site.
  • The stitch can be taken out the following morning or at your next dialysis treatment.

What happens after the procedure?

  • You will be able to go home if no angioplasty was done. If you had angioplasty, you will be taken to the Day Medicine/Day Surgery unit/Dialysis unit.
  • You may stay for up to 4 hours.
  • You will need to lay quietly, with your arm straight.
  • Do NOT do anything strenuous with your arm for the rest of the day, like vacuum.

If you have any bleeding from your access site that will NOT stop, apply pressure to the access site and go to the nearest emergency department.

Who should I call if I have questions or concerns?

If you have questions or concerns before the procedure, please call your dialysis unit or the dialysis access nurse:

Calgary: (403) 944-8474

Edmonton: (780) 407-8412

Lethbridge: (403) 388-6599

Medicine Hat: (403) 529-8807​​

Current as of: August 19, 2019

Author: Southern Alberta/Northern Alberta Renal Programs, Alberta Health Services