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What is an angiography?

An angiography is a type of X-ray used to check blood vessels. Still, blood vessels do not show clearly on a standard X-ray, an angiography utilizes a contrast agent (a special dye) that highlights the blood vessels.

During an angiography, the patient lies on an X-ray table, and a catheter is inserted into an artery, often one near the wrist or groin. The catheter is then guided to the area that is being examined. Once there, the dye is injected into the catheter, and then a series of X-rays are taken as the contrast agent flows through the blood vessels.

Depending on the part of the body being looked at, there are different types of angiographies, such as:

  • Cerebral angiography (brain)
  • Coronary angiography (heart)
  • Renal angiography (kidneys)
  • Pulmonary angiography (lungs)

Sometimes, an angiography may be completed with scans instead of X-rays, called MRI angiographies or CT angiographies.

How does an angiography improve healthcare?

By checking the health of blood vessels and how blood flows through them, an angiography can be used to diagnose or investigate:

  • Peripheral arterial disease
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Angina
  • A brain aneurysm
  • Blood clots
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Blockage of blood to the kidneys

The information obtained through an angiography can aid treatment of the above diseases and health conditions.