Angiography is a minimally invasive procedure that produces pictures of major blood vessels in the body. This procedure is done by placing a catheter, a thin plastic tube, into an artery through a small incision in the skin. Once the catheter is guided under x-rays to the area of concern contrast material is injected to make a picture of those vessels.
Angiography may be done to:
- identify atherosclerotic disease which may limit blood flow to the brain and cause a stroke or to the lower extremities and cause pain and gangrene.
- identify aneurysms in the aorta.
- guide physicians making repairs to diseased blood vessels, such as implanting stents or evaluating a stent after placement.
- detect injury to one of more arteries in trauma patients.
Angioplasty and Stenting may follow the identification of a narrowed artery during angiography. A very small balloon attached to a thin catheter is inserted into the narrowed blood vessel under X-ray guidance. The balloon is inflated to open the artery. Sometimes, a small metal tunnell, called a stent, is inserted to keep the blood vessel open.
Balloon angioplasty and stenting now can sometimes replace surgery for many arterial occlusions.
Preparation for Procedure
- Bring a list of all medications
- Inform your physician of any recent illness
- You will wear a gown during the exam and will be asked to remove jewelry, dentures, eye glasses and any metal objects or clothing that might interfere with the x-ray images.
- Women should always inform the radiology staff if there is a possibility that they are pregnant.
- If you are going to be given sedation, you must not have anything to eat or drink anything for six hours before your exam and must have someone that will drive you home from the procedure.