A special dye gets injected into your blood first to highlight your blood vessels, allowing your doctor to notice any problems.
The X-ray images obtained during angiography are called angiograms.
Angiography helps check your blood vessels’ health and blood flow. It assists in diagnosing several problems affecting blood vessels, including:
- Atherosclerosis – narrowing of the arteries, meaning you’re at risk of heart attack or stroke
- Peripheral arterial disease – decreased blood flow to the leg muscles
- A brain aneurysm – a lump in a blood vessel in the brain
- Angina – reduced blood flow to the heart muscles, causing chest pain
- Blood clots – a blockage in the artery supplying the lungs and kidneys
There are different types of angiography, depending on the part of the body.
Common types include checking:
- Cerebral angiography – blood vessels in and around the brain
- Coronary angiography – heart and nearby blood vessels
- Pulmonary angiography – blood vessels supplying the lungs
- Renal angiography – blood vessels supplying the kidneys
Occasionally, angiography might use scans instead of X-rays, like CT angiography or MRI angiography.
Angiography happens in a hospital’s X-ray or radiology department.
For the test:
- You’ll usually be conscious, but a medicine called a sedative helps you to relax.
- On an X-ray table, you lie, and an incision happens over one of your arteries, usually near the wrist or groin, by a local anesthetic to numb the area of the cut.
- A thin, flexible tube (catheter) gets inserted into the artery.
- A dye (contrast medium) is flown into the catheter to obtain a series of X-rays as the dye flows through your blood vessels.
The completion can take between thirty minutes and two hours. You can usually go home a few hours afterward.
Reviewed by – Dr. Priyanka, MBBS MD
Page last reviewed: 04 October 2022