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What is Arteriography?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 30 August 2016
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Arteriography is a procedure which is used to create an image of the inside of the arteries. This medical imaging technique is used in the diagnosis and monitoring of a number of conditions which involve narrowing or occlusions in the arteries. It can be performed in a hospital, clinic, or radiology clinic, and is typically an outpatient procedure, although it can also be used on hospitalized patients who will be remaining in the hospital after the procedure to manage ongoing medical problems.

Also known as angiography, arteriography involves the injection of a contrast dye into the area of interest. The dye will show up clearly on x-rays, allowing a doctor or radiologist to follow the movement of the dye through the arteries. The path of the dye can reveal occlusions or blockages in the arteries, along with the narrowing of arteries, and other problems, such as malformations which could cause problems for the patient.

In this procedure, the patient wears a hospital gown and lies on an x-ray table. With the assistance of fluoroscopy, a catheter is threaded into the body, usually through the femoral artery, and directed to the area of interest. Once in place, contrast dye is injected, and a series of x-rays are taken. After the procedure is finished, the patient is free to go, although he or she may be asked to stay for monitoring to confirm that no negative reactions are occurring.

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Potential complications of an arteriography procedure include an allergic reaction to the dye, occlusion of an artery, or damage to the kidneys. A doctor will usually screen a patient before conducting the test to confirm that it will be safe, and intervention will be provided promptly if signs of complications emerge while the patient is in the hospital or clinic. Most patients also experience temporary flushing as a result of the contrast agent. They may be given sedatives during the procedure to keep them calm so that the images are not compromised.

Some examples of common arteriography procedures including cerebral, coronary, lower extremity, and renal arteriography, all named for the areas of interest studied during the procedure. The resulting arteriograms can be evaluated by a radiologist and a physician to determine what the patient's situation is. Treatment recommendations may be made to manage an obvious problem, or a patient may be encouraged to get additional testing to provide more information for the doctor.

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