Angiography is an imaging technique used to see the inside of the blood vessels. It involves the use of x-ray catheters, magnetic resonance imaging, and computed tomography to produce an x-ray reading of the vessels. In specific situations, a contrast material is used to get images of major blood vessels of the entire body. Angiography is mainly done in hospitals to help doctors diagnose and treat medical problems.

It is mainly performed to examine the blood vessels of major body parts such as brain, kidneys, abdomen, neck, and lungs. In India, it is generally performed for cardiovascular diseases. In angiography, a long wire called catheter is inserted through a small incision in the artery of the leg located near the thigh crease. With the help of the images of the catheter tip shown on a fluoroscopy monitor, the tip is pushed against the blood flow and guided to move towards the heart. If the tip gets stuck somewhere on the route, it is withdrawn a little and again pushed up blindly. It scratches the walls of the arterial tubes and can puncture the corners of the tubes. After repeated withdrawals and pushing, the tip finally reaches the heart area. Now, the tip is further pushed into one of the coronary arteries. Then, a radioactive dye is injected through a hole in the catheter and finally fluoroscopy images are taken. If the dye cannot fill up the entire artery, it indicates the possibility of a blockage. The tip is again placed into another artery to take images and look for blockages. Using this procedure, doctors can make a rough estimate of the percentage level of blocked arteries in a patient. This helps them in deciding further course of action.

Angiography has a number of benefits. It may eliminate the need for surgery to unclog arteries. It also gives a clear and detailed image of the blood vessels. The use of x-rays usually has no side complications. Moreover, no x-ray radiation remains in a patient's body after the examination is over.

However, there are some risks attached to angiography but there incidence is rare. There is always a small chance of cancer due to over exposure to radiation. A person allergic to x-ray contrast material cannot undergo this procedure. A possibility of an injury or damage to the body organ due to the injection of contrast material is always there in diabetic patients.

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