Department of Radiology: Angiography & Interventional Radiography FAQ
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Q. What is Angiography and Interventional Radiology?
A. Angiography is a procedure that enables blood vessels to be visualized after they have been filled with a contrast medium. Angiography can be coupled with certain types of procedures called Interventional Radiology. Interventional Radiology techniques can repair blockages in the vessels, such as cholesterol build up, without performing surgery. The most common type of Interventional Radiology is the balloon angioplasty, in which a small balloon is
inserted into a blood vessel and inflated to expand a narrowed or blocked segment of an
artery or vein.
Q. Why have Angiography and Interventional Radiology?
A. Angiography and Angioplasty are often recommended for patients diagnosed with peripheral
vascular disease - a condition in which plaque (fatty cholesterol) builds up in the blood
vessels and impedes the flow of blood. Angioplasty is less invasive than surgery and
performed under a local anesthetic. The entire procedure takes about one hour.
Q. Why come to the Medical Center for Angiography and Interventional Radiology?
A. Board-certified and fellowship-trained radiologists and highly trained and certified staff
technologists complement state-of-the-art diagnostics and treatment facilities. Our skilled
professionals possess the expertise needed to accurately diagnose and treat vascular
ailments. The staff also has the compassion needed to make patients feel comfortable, and
ensure that the Radiology experience is as pleasant as possible.
Q. What can I expect during the procedure?
A. The first step in Angiography is usually the diagnostic X-ray of the blood vessels to identify
the narrowed blood vessel. This procedure can be followed by an Angioplasty to treat the
blockage in the vessel.
During the procedure the patient lies flat covered with a sterile drape. An area of the arm or
leg will be disinfected with liquid soap. After a local anesthetic has been applied to numb the
area, a small plastic tube, or catheter, is inserted in into an artery of the arm or leg. Following
insertion, the catheter can then be directed through the blood vessels to the part of the body
under evaluation. Once in position, X-ray contrast (dye) is then injected through the blood
vessels and special X-rays called arteriograms are taken to identify the diseased area.
An Angioplasty may be performed through the same tube used for the Arteriogram;
sometimes a second tube is inserted for the balloon. A special instrument with a deflated
balloon is inserted through the tube and positioned at the narrowed area. The balloon is
inflated to open the narrowed or blocked section of the vessel. Sometimes, a special metal
stent is inserted to reinforce the walls of the vessel. This stent is incorporated into the vessel
where it will remain permanently.
Following this procedure, the patient may be required to stay in the hospital overnight for observation. Most patients are able to walk the next day and return to their normal routine 2 within two to three days. In fact, most patients' symptoms are significantly improved by the procedure and they are able to resume greater activity than prior to the procedure.
Q. How do I prepare for Angiography and Interventional Radiology?
A. The referring physician will provide detailed information on how to prepare for the procedure.
The patient may be asked to:
• Have blood tests prior to the procedure
• Make adjustments in any medications being taken
• Limit food and/or drink for a period of time prior to the procedure
Q. What if I still have questions about Angiography and Interventional Radiology?
A. For more information, call the Department of Radiology at 201-894-3400.