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Types and Procedure For Conducting an Arteriography

Submitted on March 27, 2012

What is Arteriography?

Arteriography is a common medical procedure. It is an imaging test that uses x-rays and a special dye to look for and assess blockages in the arteries. The contrast material (dye) when injected into the artery is visible on an x-ray; this allows doctors to study the flow of the dye through the x-rays and zero in on every blockage and understand the extent of damage to the body.

An arteriography procedure, commonly known as an angiography, has become a vital part of modern medicine. So precise is the technique that doctors are able to assess the numbers of blockages and the severity of the blockages to the body. By studying these x-rays doctors can prescribe the right course of treatment.

An arteriography usually helps doctors detect abnormalities like aneurysms, hemorrhages, thrombosis, tumors, blood vessel spasms, and the likes, in the body. This test is very important in the treatment of high risk patients, especially those suffering from heart conditions.

Types of Arteriography Tests

An arteriography test shows up arterial blockages in various parts of the body. Depending on the part of the body under stress, one of the following arteriography tests is under taken: cerebral arteriography (traces blockages in the brain), coronary arteriography (x-rays study blockages in the heart), renal arteriography (x-rays assess blood vessels of the kidneys), extremity arteriography (arteriography of legs and arms). In case of a severe blockage or high patient risk a more comprehensive test like the magnetic resonance arteriography may be ordered.

Procedure

The arteriography test is performed in a specialized medical facility. Before the test, patients may be asked to stay off certain types of medication and will be asked to appear for the test on an empty stomach.

For the test, the patient is placed on the x-ray table. The exact procedural details depend on the region of the body being tested for blockages. Usually the patient is given local anesthesia and the specific blood vessel is accessed by a small incision. Through this incision a small catheter is navigated into the artery. After this the contrast material (dye) is injected into the artery. The flow of this dye shows up on the x-rays and allows doctors to proceed with the patient's treatment. Once the test is completed, patients are required to rest for sometime before heading out. In cases of serious blockage, like in the case of the heart, surgery is scheduled.

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