What is a Angiograph?
Angiography is a minimally invasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. Angiography uses x-rays with catheters to produce pictures of major blood vessels throughout the body.
In catheter angiography, a thin plastic tube, called a catheter, is inserted into an artery through a small incision in the skin. Once the catheter is guided to the area being examined, a contrast material is injected through the tube and images are captured using a small dose of ionizing radiation (x-rays).
Catheter angiography is used to examine blood vessels in key areas of the body, including the: Brain, Kidneys, Pelvis, Legs, Lungs, Heart, Neck.
What is it used for?
- Identify disease and aneurysms in the aorta or in other major blood vessels;
- Detect atherosclerosis disease in the carotid artery of the neck, which may limit blood flow to the brain and cause a stroke;
- Identify a small aneurysm or arteriovenous malformation inside the brain;
- Detect atherosclerotic disease that has narrowed the arteries to the legs and help prepare for surgery;
- Indicate disease in the renal artery or visualize blood flow to help prepare for a kidney transplant;
- Guide surgeons making repairs to diseased blood vessels, such as implanting or evaluating a stent;
- Detect injury to one of more arteries in trauma patients;
- Evaluate the details of arteries feeding a tumor prior to surgery;
- Identify dissection in the aorta or its major branches;
- Show the extent and severity of atherosclerosis in the coronary arteries;
- Plan for a surgical operation, such as coronary bypass;
- And identify the source of internal bleeding, such as a stomach ulcer.
Preparing for Angiography
You should inform your physician of any medications you are taking and if you have any allergies, especially to contrast material. Depending on the severity of a contrast allergy, medication can be administered to mitigate a reaction. Also, inform your doctor about recent illnesses or other medical conditions.
You may be asked to remove some or all of your clothes and to wear a gown during the exam. You may also be asked to remove jewelry, eye glasses and any metal objects or clothing that might interfere with the x-ray images.
Women should always inform their physician or x-ray technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant or if they are nursing.
If you are going to be given a sedative during the procedure, you may be asked not to eat or drink anything for four to six hours before your exam. If you are sedated, you should not drive for 24-hours after for your exam and you should arrange for someone to drive you home. Because an observation period is necessary following the exam, you may be admitted to the hospital for an overnight stay if you live more than an hour away.