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Angiogram - A Technique To Check Vascular System Of Circulation

Submitted on March 27, 2012

What Is an Angiogram?

An angiogram is a type of imaging technique like an x-ray specifically for checking the vascular system of circulation. This method of imaging can be used in various parts of the body. A coronary angiogram is specifically done to check the circulation to the heart muscles. This is useful when it comes to checking for blockages in the heart's vessels. Brian angiograms are used to check for aneurysms and other circulation related problems. They are also used to check for arteries that feed tumor growth. The carotid angiogram is especially useful in this regard as well as a cerebral angiogram. One of the variations of a regular angiogram is a CT angiogram, which combines multiple x-rays done at various angles to provide a near 3D experience to the doctor. The good part of this technique is that instead of tubing a catheter through an artery, this procedure just requires one injection of radio opaque material.

Why Is it Done?

An angiogram procedure is nearly always done to check the blood vessels of a region of the body. Depending on which organ needs to be investigated, the contrast fluid is injected according to region. The procedure is a good way to check for blockages as well as accumulations like aneurysms. Additionally, it is also useful to check which artery is feeding a tumor in the body. From here chemotherapy can start by injecting material directly into that artery to focus the treatment into the tumor.

How To Prepare For It?

The most important about avoiding angiogram risks is to let your doctor know if you have ever had this kind of a procedure done before and if you have ever had an allergic reaction to the contrasting fluid. The contrasting fluid is an iodine based liquid and some patients can have an allergic reaction to it.

How Is it Done?

A regular angiogram that is done on the heart requires a puncture to be made in the forearm or the artery near the groin. From here a tube is inserted into the artery and pushed all the way up till it is near the heart. A radio-opaque dye or contrasting fluid is then injected. Multiple x-rays are then taken giving a time-lapse view. This procedure can be recorded as an angiogram video when using CT angiograms. Angiogram recovery is rather quick unless you have been anesthetized during the procedure. There may also be some residual pain.