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A venogram is an X-ray test that involves injecting X-ray contrast material (dye) into vein to show how blood flows through the vein.

What is a Venogram?

A venogram is a procedure that provides X-ray visualization of the veins, particularly in the lower extremities (legs) where X-ray contrast material (dye) is injected into a vein. The contrast allows the doctor to evaluate the size and condition of the vein. A venogram is one of the more accurate tests used to diagnose deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and can also be used to diagnose other abnormalities.

During a venogram, an interventional radiologist uses fluoroscopy, which converts X-rays into video images. The video is produced by the X-ray machine and a detector that is suspended over the examination table whereon the patient lies.
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How is a Venogram performed?

The procedure is conducted in an angiography suite at Mercy Angiography, which is in the Mercy Hospital at 98 Mountain Road, Epsom in Auckland. Your Interventional Radiologist will be assisted by nurses and other highly trained staff during the procedure.
  • You will be awake during the procedure but lightly sedated.
  • The area to be treated will often be numbed with topical anaesthetic before the treatment starts.
  • The vessels to be studied is located using ultrasound guidance.
  • The Interventional Radiologist will insert a needle or catheter into a vein to inject the contrast agent (x-ray dye).
  • As the contrast material flows through the veins being examined, several X-rays are taken.
  • You may be moved into different positions so that the X-rays can take pictures of your veins at different angles.
VENO 1(copy)(copy) VENO 2(copy)(copy)
elbow venogram leg venogram
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What will I experience during the procedure?

  • An intravenous catheter (IV line) for administration of fluids and medication will be inserted into a vein on the back of your hand or in your arm.
  • Devices to monitor your heart rate and blood pressure will be attached to your body.
  • You will feel a slight pin prick when the needle is inserted into your vein for the intravenous line (IV) and when the local anesthetic is injected at the treatment site.
  • You will be given sedation and pain relief through your IV to help you feel relaxed.
  • As the contrast (x-ray dye) passes through your body, you may feel a warm sensation.
  • You may have a metallic taste in your mouth; your arm or leg may feel like it is getting numb or “falling asleep”. After the test is complete, this feeling will go away.
While you are in the hospital, any pain will be well-managed with medications infused through your IV line.
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Why do I need a Venogram?

A venogram is commonly used to:
  • Find blood clots in the vein
  • Assess varicose veins before surgery
  • Find a vein in good condition to use for a bypass procedure
  • Help a physician place an IV or a medical device, such as a stent, in a vein
  • Guide treatment of diseased veins
  • Identify the presence and location of DVT.
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How should I prepare for the procedure?

  • Fasting: You will likely be instructed not to eat or drink anything two hours before your procedure. Your doctor will tell you which medications you may take in the morning.
  • Medications: Please inform your doctor about all the medication you are taking. You doctor may advise you to stop taking some medications temporarily few days prior to your procedure e.g. blood thinners.
  • Allergies or previous reactions to contrast (x-ray dye): Please inform Mercy Angiography staff at the time of booking your procedure if you have any known history of allergies, particularly allergies to x-ray contrast and seafood.
  • Diabetes: If you are a diabetic you should inform your doctor at the time of booking. You may need to discuss your insulin dose with your doctor.
Please bring with you any medication and any recent blood tests, ultrasound results or x-rays.
You may bring a favourite music CD as this can be played during the procedure. You are also encouraged to bring a friend or family member.

On the day of your procedure, please make your way to the Mercy Hospital Reception where they will be expecting you. You will be admitted to a hospital ward and transferred to Mercy Angiography for your procedure.

For directions to the Mercy Hospital, click here.
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What happens after the procedure?

  • The catheter or needle is removed and a pressure bandage is applied to the entry site to stop bleeding.
  • Your Interventional Radiologist will discuss the findings with you after the procedure, or at a follow-up appointment.
  • You should be discharged shortly after the procedure if there are no complications during / after your procedure.
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What are the risks?

  • Any procedure that involves placement of a catheter inside a blood vessel carries certain risks. These risks include damage to the blood vessel, bruising or bleeding at the puncture site, and infection.
  • In rare cases, a venogram can cause a deep vein thrombosis (the formation of a blood clot in a deep vein).
  • There is a very slight risk of an allergic reaction to the contrast material (x-ray dye).
Generally the procedure is very safe and carried out with no significant side effects.
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