Complications of angiography 

Minor complications can occur after an angiography, but serious complications are rare.

Minor complications include:

  • bleeding or bruising at the site of the incision
  • infection at the incision site – which may need to be treated with antibiotics
  • a mild to moderate allergic reaction to the contrast agent  this can usually be controlled using anti-allergy medication

More serious complications can include:

  • kidney damage (usually temporary)
  • heart attack 
  • stroke
  • blood vessel damage requiring further surgery 
  • a serious life-threatening allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to the contrast agent
  • death

These serious complications are rare. For example, an estimated 1 in 1,000 people will have a stroke as a result of having angiography, and approximately 1 in 50,000 to 150,000 people will experience anaphylaxis.

Angiography is recommended when the benefit of having the procedure is believed to outweigh any potential risk.

Page last reviewed: 26/01/2015

Next review due: 26/01/2017