What is an Angiography?
Have you ever known somebody who had to go in for a test after having chest pain, horrible cramping leg pain coupled with a lack of pulses in the feet, or mini-stroke type symptoms? Or perhaps someone you know was having trouble breathing and was suspected to have a lung clot? Any of these scenarios could be the cause for having angiography done.
Angiography is the test where dyes that can be seen by x-rays are injected into blood vessels and examined using x-rays. The resulting pictures are called angiograms. Angiograms are used to make a diagnosis narrowing or blockages in vessels anywhere in the body, from head to toe, including:
- The arteries feeding the kidneys
- All of the vessels going to and coming from the lungs
- The arteries feeding the heart muscle
- The arteries going to the brain
- The arteries feeding the arms and legs
In addition to finding narrowing and blockages, angiography can also be used to find places where the arteries or veins are bulging or ballooning. These spots are called aneurysms and if not treated, can reason death when they rupture.
Patients with kidney illness or injury may suffer further kidney damage from the contrast media used for angiography. Patients who have blood-clotting problems, have a known allergy to contrast media, or are allergic to iodine may also not be appropriate candidates for an angiography process. Newer types of contrast media classified as non-ionic are less toxic and reason fewer side effects than traditional ionic agents. Because x rays carry risks of ionizing radiation exposure to the fetus, pregnant women are also advised to avoid this procedure.