Know the Procedure of Angiography | Neurology


What is angiography?

Angiography is an X-ray procedure in which dye is added into the chambers of your heart or into the arteries that lead to your heart (coronary arteries). Then, doctors can measure blood flow and blood pressure in the chambers of the heart and see if the coronary arteries are blocked.

When imaging is taken, an iodine-based contrast medium usually enters the system. The medium highlights the movement of blood through the vessels.

Purpose of angiography

X-ray angiography is performed to specifically diagnose and diagnose vascular diseases of the body, including the brain and heart. Traditionally, angiography has been used to diagnose pathology in these vessels, such as blockage caused by plaque buildup.

However, in current decades, radiologists, cardiologists, and vascular surgeons have practiced X-ray angiography to guide minimally invasive surgery of the blood vessels and arteries of the heart. In recent years, diagnostic vascular imaging has often been performed using MRI, CT, and/or ultrasound and has become specialized for the treatment of X-ray angiography.

Types of angiography

There are several types of angiography used to diagnose a variety of problems:

  • Computed tomography angiography (CTA) uses X-rays, software, and hardware to produce horizontal or axial images or fragments of blood vessels for diagnosis.
  • Coronary angiography is a diagnostic image that uses color and special X-rays to show the inside of the coronary (heart) arteries. These images are used to identify chest pain and arterial narrowing that can lead to future heart attacks.
  • Digital subtraction angiography (DSA): Presents a picture of the blood vessels in the brain to know a problem with blood flow. In this procedure, a catheter (small, thin tube) is injected into an artery in the leg and sent to the blood vessels in the brain. Contrast dye is injected through the catheter, and X-ray images are obtained from the blood vessels.
  • Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and contrast dye to reflect blood vessels. Doctors often use MRA to examine the heart and other soft tissues and assess blood flow.
  • Pulmonary angiography: An X-ray image of blood vessels used to diagnose various conditions, such as aneurysm, stenosis (narrowing of the blood vessels), or obstruction. The dye (contrast) is injected through a thin, flexible tube that is placed into the artery. This dye makes the blood vessels visible on X-rays.
  • Renal angiography: It is an X-ray image of the renal artery, which is generally used to evaluate the occlusion of the renal artery in patients with drug-resistant hypertension.
  • Radionuclide angiography (RNA) is a type of nuclear medicine procedure. A small amount of a radioactive substance called a radionuclide (radiopharmaceutical or radioactive tracer) is used to help in the examination of the studied tissue. Specifically, relaxation assesses the chambers of the heart on the movement of RNA.

Risk factors

Risk factors for angiography include:

All medical procedures have certain risks. The risks of angiograms are minimal. Accidents include injury to the catheter insertion site, internal bleeding, hematoma or arterial damage, and a small risk of stroke. An allergic reaction to the contrast dye can cause a rash, swelling, trouble breathing, or heart problems. This test should not be given to pregnant or bleeding women.

Every effort is made to ensure that these losses are minimal. Our nurse practitioners and interventional neuroradiologists will discuss your specific risks with you before angiography.

Procedure of angiography

Preparation for angiography

  • You are usually hospitalized as a day patient for this procedure
  • Bring your referral letter or application form and all X-rays taken during the last 2 years
  • Leave the X-rays with the radiology staff because the doctor will need to see them. The radiology staff will inform you when they are ready to be picked up.
  • Wear comfortable, loose clothing
  • Leave all jewelry and valuables at home
  • You may be requested not to eat for 4 hours before the angiogram
  • You will be allowed to drink clear liquids such as black tea, coffee, clear soup, or water for four hours before your angiogram. Having fluids is very important for the kidneys.

Once the person checks in, a nurse takes them to a private room where they can put on a hospital gown.

The nurse then inserts an intravenous line into a small vein in the person’s hand or wrist. They also monitor a person’s vitals, including their weight, body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure.

During angiography

Before the angiography, a doctor will prescribe a mild sedative to help the person relax. It does not induce unconsciousness.

Then the doctor will disinfect and numb the area of the body where the catheter will be inserted. They made small incisions in the skin and inserted a catheter into the artery.

Once the catheter is inside the artery, the doctor will correctly guide them to the blood vessel they want to measure. They inject a contrast medium through a catheter and take X-ray images of the blood vessels. The person may feel a slight burning sensation when the doctor injects the contrast medium.

After angiography

You will be observed for 4 to 6 hours. During that time, the radiology nurse will discuss the instructions with you at home. A written form of these instructions will be provided to you. Follow these at home.

The radiologist will evaluate you before you are discharged. Then your doctor will discuss the test results with you.

If you have diabetes, do not take Glucophage (metformin hydrochloride) for 48 hours after the test to reduce the risk of kidney problems.

Side effects

After angiography, many people have:

  • Bruising
  • Soreness
  • A very small bump or group of blood near wherever the cut was made

These problems should get better in a few days or weeks, and you generally don’t need to worry.

You can take pain relievers like paracetamol for any discomfort if you need it.


Minor problems with the angiography procedure:

  • Excessive bleeding at the incision site
  • Infection at the incision site, which may need treatment with antibiotics
  • Mild to a moderate allergic reaction to contrast medium; This can usually be controlled through the use of allergy medications.

More serious complications can include:

  • Blood clots 
  • Kidney damage
  • Stroke
  • Blood vessel damage
  • A serious, life-threatening allergic effect (anaphylaxis) to the contrast dye

9 signs you should go see the doctor

  • Signs of infection such as fever or chills
  • Redness, swelling, growing pain, unnecessary bleeding, or any discharge from the site
  • Extreme sweating, nausea, or vomiting
  • Extreme pain
  • Extreme chest pain
  • Leg or arm feels cold, turns white or blue, or grows numb or tingly
  • Trouble breathing
  • Problems speaking or seeing
  • Weakness in the face

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