A prospective study was done of complications associated with 134 consecutive diagnostic spinal cord arteriograms in 96 patients (63 men and 33 women aged 17-78 years). Patients were examined for either arteriovenous malformation (n = 88) or tumor (n = 8), as indicated by myelography. Among the complications, 11 (8.2%) were local, five (3.7%) were systemic nonneurologic, and three (2.2%) were neurologic (two were associated with full recovery in less than 24 hours, and one was associated with full recovery in less than 1 week). No specific clinical or technical factors were significantly associated with the development of neurologic complications. Details of the clinical profile, angiographic technique, and pathologic findings for each patient were recorded and analyzed with respect to the potential risk for arteriographic complications. Diagnostic spinal cord arteriography had an acceptable risk within the range of other neuroangiographic diagnostic procedures.