What is angiography?
Peformed at one of our area hospitals, Angiography is an X-ray examination of the arteries and veins to diagnose blockages and other blood vessel problems. During the angiogram, the interventional radiologist inserts a thin tube (catheter) into one of your arteries through a very small incision in the skin, about the size of a pencil tip. Contrast (X-ray dye) is then injected into the artery while X-rays are taken of the area. The angiogram helps your physician plan the best treatment for you.
Why do I need an angiogram?
One of the most common reasons for an angiogram is to find out if a blocked artery is causing your symptoms. For example, a blocked artery in the leg may cause pain in your leg when you walk; in the kidney may cause high blood pressure; and in the brain may cause vision problems and weakness.
An angiogram can determine exactly where the artery is obstructed, how severe the blockage is, and what is causing it. The two most common causes of blocked arteries are a blood clot in the artery and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries by a build up of plaque).
Another common reason for an angiogram is to see if you have an aneurysm, which is an area of an artery that has ballooned out. Although other medical tests, such as physical examination, ultrasound, computer tomography (CT) scan, or magnetic resonance (MR) can detect an aneurysm, an angiogram may be necessary to see it in detail and to plan treatment.
What happens after my angiogram?
The Interventional Radiologist will study the X-Ray images and discuss the results with you, any family you would like included, and your other doctors. Together you will work to create a treatment plan.
If you are returning home on the day of your angiogram, you will stay in the hospital for four to six hours after the angiogram is completed. After this observation period you will be allowed to go home and will be provided with discharge instructions. To ensure your safety, have someone drive you home after your procedure.