An arteriogram, also popularly known as an angiogram or angiography, is a test that allows you to look inside the arteries. This test is an imaging one that utilizes a special dye and X-rays to capture images of the insides of the arteries. This test is primarily used on the arteries of the heart, kidney, and the brain. It may also be used on several other parts of the body.
The test is usually conducted in a special medical facility with equipment that is specifically designed to carry out this test. There are various procedures to carry out this test. However, the procedure depends, to a large extent, on the part of the body that is being examined.
There are medical facilities designed to administer this test; a cardiac arteriogram is done at one such facility. The precise procedure to be followed is dependent on the part of the body being scanned. For the test to be performed, a doctor will inject a contrast material into a vein or an artery.
The injection of the dye takes a lot of preparation since the dye has to be injected right into the identified artery or vein. To help you relax, you may be given a sedative. This makes the injecting of the vein a little easier. Once the contrast material is injected into the body, X-ray images are taken. These X-rays can show the flow of the contrast material inside the blood vessels.
To prepare for the test, discuss the use of any drugs that you may have been taking. Your healthcare provider will tell you which of these drugs can affect the test and how long before the test you should abstain from them. It is advised that the patient should not eat or drink anything for at least four hours before the test is conducted.
The test is invasive since a contrast material is injected into the body. Some people may feel a slight discomfort because of the needle prick. Depending on where the material is being injected, the patient may experience different symptoms. Typically, a cerebral arteriogram will cause a flushing sensation in the head for a brief period. If you have received an injection in the groin region, you may have to lie on your back for a few minutes in order for the contrast material to circulate through the circulation system. This too may cause some discomfort for a brief period of time. If you have diabetes, there is a high risk of damage to the kidneys because of the contrast material used.