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Angiography is an X-ray exam of the arteries and veins to diagnose blockages and other blood vessel problems.

An interventional radiologist performs this X-ray procedure, which is also called and angiogram. During the angiogram, the doctor inserts a thin tube (catheter) in to the artery through a small incision about the size of the tip of a pencil. A contrast agent (X-ray dye) is injected to make the blood vessels visible on the X-ray monitor. This dye is observed moving through the vessels on a television monitor that the doctor sees in real time.

One of the most common reasons for angiograms is to see if there is a blockage or narrowing in a blood vessel that may interfere with the normal flow of blood through the body. In many cases, the interventional radiologist can treat a blocked blood vessel without surgery at the same time the angiogram is performed. Interventional radiologists treat blockages with techniques called angioplasty and thrombolysis.

There are many types of angiograms, below is a list of the more common areas studied. Regardless of the actual vessels being studied, most angiograms are performed in a similar fashion.

  • Renal Arteriogram (study of the blood vessels to the kidneys)
  • Aortofemoral Arteriogram (arteries of the pelvis and legs)
  • Carotid Arteriogram (arteries in the neck that supply the brain)
  • Cerebral Arteriogram (arteries in the brain)
  • Mesenteric Arteriogram (arteries supplying stomach, bowel loops, liver)
  • Pulmonary Arteriogram (arteries that supply the lungs)

Planning for this procedure

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