Interventional Radiology 101: What Is An Angiogram?

what is an angiogram, diagnostic angiography, interventional radiology,

When it comes to diagnosing and treating physical conditions, almost everything requires some kind of imaging test. These procedures can view the organs inside our bodies, and other internal structures such as our bones and even our veins. Interventional radiology is a subspecialty of radiology, which utilizes imaging tests as seeing-guides to facilitate minimally-invasive procedures, such as an angiogram.

What Is An Angiogram?

Diagnostic angiography is the study of the blood vessels, and the imaging procedure most commonly used to do this is called an angiogram. An angiogram is a type of interventional radiology procedure that uses X-ray technology to guide a small tube called a catheter through the patient’s major arteries. The procedure can be used for diagnostic and therapeutic reasons, but as a diagnostic procedure, an angiogram can be particularly helpful in detecting blood vessel disorders such as aneurysms and malformations.  

How Does An Angiogram Work?

Before an angiogram, the patient is given sedation and a local anesthetic over the area through which the catheter will enter, which is typically through the femoral artery in the groin. Once the patient is sedated and the area numb, the catheter is inserted and guided through the artery with video x-ray guidance. To better visualize the artery, a contrast is injected into the vessels and illuminates them on the x-ray.

Why Would You Need An Angiogram

There are many kinds of angiograms, such as a CT angiogram or a pulmonary angiogram, so the kind of angiogram a patient receives depends on the type of symptoms or condition they have. For example, a person may need a coronary angiogram for the following several reasons:

  • Chest pain or other symptoms indicating coronary heart disease
  • Pain in your chest, jaw, neck, or arm that can’t be explained by other tests

  • New or increasing chest pain

  • A congenital heart defect or congenital heart disease

  • Abnormal results on a heart stress test

  • Other blood vessel problems or a chest injury

  • A heart valve problem that requires surgery

More Information

At our BICRAD imaging centers, our interventional radiology specialists are specially trained in image-guided procedures like angiograms. If your doctor has recommended you for an angiography, our interventional radiology centers can help you. To book an appointment, contact the Interventional Radiology clinic nearest you.