Angiography is defined as the x-ray study of the blood vessels. In this test, a dye or some other radio opaque substance (like iodine) is used to make the blood vessels visible under the x-ray. Multiple forms of angiography are as follows:
- Cerebral angiography
- Coronary angiography
- Pulmonary angiography
- Kidney angiography
- Fluorescein angiography
- Celiac and mesenteric angiography
The doctor guides a very thin, flexible tube through the arteries to the area under examination and injects the radio opaque material. The whole procedure is seen with the help of a fluoroscope, an x-ray unit with a television monitor. The tube is removed after multiple sets of x-rays are taken. The place where the cut is made is then closed by putting pressure on the incision for about 10 minutes.
Angiography is commonly used to detect blood vessel blockages or other abnormalities in blood vessels in some body organs. It is also used to detect the following diseases/conditions:
- Kidney Transplants
- Eye Retina problems
- Mapping of the heart prior to an open heart surgery
Angiography can at times lead to allergies due to the substance injected into the blood vessels. Angiography might also cause further damage to patients with kidney injuries. Pregnant women are advised to avoid angiography because of the common risks of radiation exposure to the foetus.
Pre and Post Care
If one is undergoing angiography, he/she is advised to stop eating or drinking eight hours before the procedure. A sedative is sometimes administered to relax the patient prior to the procedure. All jewellery in the body is required to be removed and the hospital gown be worn for the above mentioned test.
An overnight hospital stay is advisable to patients in case of angiography procedures (mostly in brain and heart related angiographies). Since an arterial puncture is made, patients might sometimes experience slight pain and swelling. It is recommended to meet the doctor in case any complications arise out of the angiography. Doctors might also advise lots of fluid intake to flush out the injected liquids and might ask the patient to avoid any strenous physical or sexual activity for the next 24 hours.
Diabetes patients should ensure that the doctor knows of their condition prior to administering them under angiography.
In rare cases, internal bleeding and haemorrhage have been seen as possible complications of the test. Infection is a risk as it is an invasive procedure but infection is very rare.
In case blood clotting happens inside the arteries, there are chances of a heart stroke or heart attack. This hence requires doctor expertise while performing the procedure
Swelling or sudden drop in heart pressure could sometimes be the symptoms if there has been an allergy to the radio opaque substance.
As it involves radioactive procedures, the treatment needs to be administered with proper care and documentation, more so for pregnant women.