Preparing for a Percutaneous Transluminal Angioplasty or Venoplasty
in Interventional Radiology
You are scheduled for a percutaneous transluminal angioplasty or venoplasty to be done by our
Interventional Radiologists on __________________ at ______________AM/PM. This handout
explains the procedure to you, and tells you how to prepare for it and what to expect after the
What is an angioplasty or venoplasty
This procedure involves placing a small tube
in your artery or vein and then taking a
series of x-ray pictures with the use of
contrast (x-ray dye). The contrast dye study
will show the doctor which arteries or veins
are narrowed or blocked. The doctor will
then use a special catheter with a balloon on
the tip. This balloon will be placed in the
narrowed part of the vein or artery and will
be inflated and deflated to open up the
Why do I need this procedure?
An MRI or CT scan has shown that
an artery or vein is narrowed or
blocked and needs to be opened back
Most of the time it is the preferred
method to open blocked vessels and
can be performed without surgery.
How do I prepare for the procedure?
We will draw blood work the
morning of the procedure if that has
not already been done.
If you are taking any blood thinners
a nurse will review your medications
with you and give you further
You may have solid foods of any
kind until 6 hours before your
procedure. You may have clear
liquids (liquids that you can see
through) up until 4 hours before your
If you have diabetes and take insulin,
we will tell you what to do to
manage your medications and blood
sugars before the procedure. Take
your prescribed oral medicine as
scheduled with a few sips of water.
If there is any chance you might be
pregnant, please tell the radiologist.
Be sure to tell the radiologist if you
have any allergies to contrast dyes,
antibiotics, anesthetic agents, iodine,
latex or any other medicines that you
may have taken before.
Please make plans to have someone
drive you home after the procedure.
If you are on a medicine called
Glucophage or Metformin, you
will be advised to hold this
medication on the day of the
procedure and for 2 days after the
What can I expect during the procedure?
The procedure is done in the Radiology
Department in our Angio-Interventional
Suite. The procedure takes 1-2 hours,
ξ An intravenous (IV) catheter will be
started to give you fluids. You may
be given medicine to relax you.
ξ We may have to place a small tube
into your bladder (urine catheter) to
collect urine during the procedure.
ξ You will be positioned on your back
on the procedure table.
ξ A nurse will check your blood
pressure, pulse and temperature
The doctor will locate the artery or vein that
he will be going into. That area will be
shaved and cleaned. That area will then be
covered with sterile drapes to help prevent
infection. The doctors will wear sterile
gowns and masks to provide a clean setting.
The skin at the entry site will be numbed
with lidocaine so you will have little pain
during the procedure. Most patients do not
feel a lot of pain. You may feel pressure
during the placement of the tube into the
vein or artery. You will not feel the tube on
the inside of your arteries or veins.
Contrast dye will then be injected into the
tube to assess your artery or vein. You may
have a feeling of warmth or heat at this time.
This is normal. It is often felt in the
abdomen and buttocks. The contrast dye
highlights the vessels being studied. You
will be asked to hold your breath so you do
not move while the pictures of your arteries
or veins are being taken. These injections
through the tube will be done a few times.
After finding the place and size of the
blockage, the angioplasty or venoplasty will
ξ The tube is threaded up until it
reaches the blocked area. At the end
of the tube is a balloon. The balloon
will be inflated for 15-60 seconds at
a time. It will inflate and deflate
ξ You may have a feeling of pressure
at the site where the balloon inflates.
Some patients have a fair amount of
pain where the balloon inflates. If
this happens, you will be given IV
ξ After the angioplasty, another
contrast dye study is done to see if
the angioplasty has been a success
and if blood flow has been improved.
What can I expect after the procedure?
You will return to a nursing care unit on a
You will need to lie flat, with your
leg straight for up to 6 hours.
Vital signs such as blood pressure,
pulse, and temperature will be
Circulation checks of your leg or arm
will be done with vital signs.
The puncture site will be checked for
You may eat and drink what you’d
like, when you feel ready.
You may start taking all your
prescribed medicines as scheduled.
To make it easier for you, you may
still have a urine catheter in place
while you are lying flat. This is
placed in your bladder to keep it
emptied so you do not have to use a
bed pan or a urinal.
You will have an IV to give you
Home Care after Your Angioplasty or
What do I need to know before going
The nurse or doctor will show you
how to apply direct pressure to the
site in case it bleeds.
Write down the date the doctor says
you can return to work.
Write down the date the doctor says
you can resume driving (often 48
hours after the procedure).
Write down the date the doctor says
you may resume taking your
anticoagulants or blood thinning
medicines if you are on them.
How do I care for myself at home?
If bleeding occurs at the site, apply
direct pressure and go to the nearest
Keep the gauze dressing dry for 24
hours. After that, you can remove
the gauze dressing and shower or
bathe as you’d like. Put a Band-
Aid® over the site for the next 3
Drink at least 8 - 10 glasses of fluid
(water, coffee, juice, tea, any food
that melts at room temperature, etc)
for the first 24 hours. Do not drink
alcohol the first day.
Keep your leg or arm (with the
puncture site) straight when sitting or
lying down for the first 24 hours.
No heavy lifting (more than 10
pounds) for 24 hours.
If you feel very dizzy, faint or light-
headed, this may be due to low blood
pressure, and you may be bleeding
internally. If you feel this way, go to
the nearest emergency room.
Puncture Site - once a day for five
(5) days, look at puncture site on
your leg or arm for signs of infection
or other problems. Call your doctor
if you notice any of these signs:
Red and/or hot puncture site
Foul-smelling, yellowish or
greenish drainage from puncture
Increased swelling at puncture
site or of the leg or arm.
Temperature (by mouth) above
100 θF or 37.8 θC.
What do I do if I have pain?
You should feel only a little pain after you
are home. For relief, take acetaminophen
(such as Tylenol ). Do not take aspirin. It
may cause bleeding.
When should I call my doctor about
Call your doctor if any of these happen:
Signs of infection
Large bruise under and around the
puncture site (often firm to touch)
Severe pain or spasms in the leg or
Numbness and/or tingling in the leg
Loss of motion in leg or arm.
Itching or hives anywhere on your
If you have any questions or problems once
you are at home, call the Radiology
Department (608) 263-9729, prompt #3,
during the day (8:00 am to 4:30 pm).
Nights, weekends and holidays, call
608-262-2122. Ask for the
Angio/Interventional Radiology resident on-
call. Give your name and phone number
with the area code. The doctor will call you
If you live outside the area, call toll-free at
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 6/2017 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#4642.