An angiogram is a procedure that is carried out to view the circulatory system of a specific part of the body. An angiogram of the head and the neck is used to view any embolism, blood clots, and collections of blood in the brain. Additionally, by viewing the arteries and the location of a tumor, an angiogram can identify which arteries are feeding a tumor so that chemotherapy can focus on a specific site instead of being administered completely. There some variations to the standard angiography that was invented in the earlier part of the last century and they are the magnetic resonance angiogram and computed tomography angiogram. Magnetic resonance angiograms use the principle method of magnetic resonance imaging and the use of a contrasting agent to specifically highlight the vessels; otherwise, only the tissue would show and not the circulation. Computed tomography angiograms, on the other hand, use the same fundamental action of a standard angiogram but they can be used to visualize an entire section of the body by taking x rays from multiple angles.
A standard angiogram is a procedure that is performed by first making a puncture through the skin and reaching the femoral artery. The femoral artery is a major artery in the thigh. Femoral artery angiogram techniques have been the most used in the better part of modern medicine. From the femoral artery, a tube is passed up the artery all the way till the heart and then a contrasting dye is injected to highlight the blood vessels that feed the heart. This is an excellent way to look for blockages of the heart blood vessels.
In transient ischemic attacks or TIA, angiograms are especially useful to detect the reasons for ischemia. In medical terminology, ischemia is the lack of blood supply to a certain part of the body. This is different from a condition called hypoxia. In hypoxia, the only component that a cell is not getting is oxygen; whereas, in ischemia, all the elements including, oxygen, glucose, and other metabolites do not reach cells and tissue. TIA is used specifically for ischemia in the brain, which is also called a mini-stroke. This condition can suddenly occur and is mostly caused by an embolism or the movement of any kind of particulates from one part of the body to the brain; thereby, blocking out the circulation. The most common symptoms of this problem is neural malfunction, paralysis to one side of the body, difficulty speaking, and a loss of vision.