A venogram is an
X-ray test that takes pictures of blood flow through
the veins in a certain area of the body.
During a venogram, a
special dye (contrast material) is put into your veins so they can
be seen clearly on an X-ray picture. A venogram looks at the condition of your
veins and the valves in your veins.
A venogram can show the veins
in your legs, pelvis, or arm; the veins leading to the heart; or the veins
leaving your kidneys. It can show
normal blood flow and blood flow blocked by a
blood clot (thrombus).
Why It Is Done
Venography might be done to:
Check the blood flow in veins.
Find the right placement in blood vessels for
medical devices such as
How To Prepare
You may be asked not to eat or drink anything for several hours before the test. You might be allowed to drink clear liquids on the day of the test. Tell your doctor about all of the medicines, vitamins, and supplements you are taking. You may need to stop taking some medicines or supplements for a while before the test.
bleeding problems or take blood-thinning medicines, such as aspirin, heparin,
or warfarin (Coumadin).
Have had kidney
diabetes, especially if you take metformin
You will be asked to sign a consent form that says you understand the risks of the test and agree to have it done.
Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the
test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results may mean. To help you
understand the importance of this test, fill out the
medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).
How It Is Done
A venogram usually is done in a
hospital X-ray department by a
radiologist and an X-ray technologist. A nurse may
also be present.
Before the test
Take off all jewelry and metal objects before the
test. You will need to take off all or most of your clothes. You will be given
a gown to use during the test. You may be asked to urinate just before the test
You will lie on an
X-ray table. A tilting X-ray table is usually used when studying the legs.
Safety straps will help you lie still if the table is tilted.
During the test
a leg venogram, you will be asked to relax the leg and keep it still during the
X-rays. An elastic band will be put around your leg or ankle to make the veins
of the foot fill with blood. The dye will be put in a vein (IV) on the top of
If the veins in your pelvis are studied, the dye may be
placed in a vein in your groin. For an arm venogram, the dye will be put into a
vein on the top of your hand or in your arm.
After the dye is put
in, a series of X-rays is taken of each section of the arm or leg or pelvis.
Your arm or leg may be placed in several different positions so that X-rays
from different views can be taken. If your doctor is placing an intravenous
(IV) line, X-rays will be taken as the line is put in to help guide it to the
After the X-rays are taken, your arm or leg will
be raised. A sterile salt solution (saline) may be put into the vein to help
flush out the dye. Heparin, a blood thinner, may be put into the vein to
prevent a blood clot. A small bandage will be placed on the IV site.
This test usually takes 30 to 90 minutes.
After the test
extra fluids after the test to help flush the dye out of your body.
How It Feels
You will feel a quick sting or pinch
when the numbing medicine is given. When the dye is put into the vein, you may
feel a warm flush or have a metallic taste in your mouth.
feel like your arm or leg is going to sleep during the test. This goes away
after the test.
There is a
small risk of infection or damage to the veins being studied. In rare cases, a
venogram can cause a
deep vein thrombosis.
There is a risk of
kidney problems if you take metformin (Glucophage) to control your
There is always a slight chance
of damage to cells or tissue from radiation, including the low levels of
radiation used for this test. But the chance of damage from the X-rays is
usually very low compared with the benefits of the test.
After the test
In rare cases, a venogram can cause
an infection or a blood clot in the area studied. Call your doctor immediately
if you have:
redness, or swelling in the arm or leg studied.
A venogram is an
X-ray test that takes pictures of the blood flow
through the veins in a certain area of the body.
Normal test results show that the dye moved quickly and
evenly through the veins. Abnormal test results show that the flow of dye was slowed or blocked. This might mean that a blood clot, or another problem such as damage in the vein, is blocking or slowing blood flow.1
What Affects the Test
Reasons you may not be able to
have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:
Pregnancy. A venogram is not usually done
during pregnancy because the radiation from the X-rays could harm the
unborn baby (fetus).
The inability to stay
still during the test.
Arm or leg venogram
Putting any weight on the leg being tested
may stop the dye from moving through the leg veins properly.
your arm or leg may affect how the dye moves.
In rare cases, foot
veins are too small to put the dye into for the test.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.