Angiography is an X-ray exam of the arteries and veins to diagnose blockages and other blood vessel problems.

An interventional radiologist performs this X-ray procedure, which is also called an angiogram. During the angiogram, the doctor inserts a thin tube (catheter) into the artery through a small nick in the skin about the size of the tip of a pencil. A substance called a contrast agent (X-ray dye) is injected to make the blood vessels visible on the X-ray.

One of the most common reasons for angiograms is to see if there is a blockage or narrowing in a blood vessel that may interfere with the normal flow of blood through the body. In many cases, the interventional radiologist can treat a blocked blood vessel without surgery at the same time the angiogram is performed. Interventional radiologists treat blockages with techniques called angioplasty and thrombolysis.


Source: Society of Interventional Radiology © 2003, www.SIRweb.org

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