AUA Summit - What is an Angiography?

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What is an Angiography?

Angiography is the x-ray imaging of blood vessels using a contrast agent (dye). The dye makes the blood vessels visible with an x-ray.

Its purpose is to show the blood supply moving to and from an organ. For example, during a renal angiography procedure the aorta and arteries supplying blood flow to the kidneys are studied.

Angiography is helpful to:

  • Learn the location of a narrow or blocked blood vessel
  • Treat a diseased blood vessel
  • Find (and stop) internal bleeding
  • Locate and remove a blood clot in a blocked blood vessel
  • Treat certain types of tumors by blocking their blood supply (a procedure called emobilization)
  • Make a map of your blood vessels before surgery

It is most commonly used to help with treatment, rather than for diagnosis alone.

Procedure

For this study, a catheter is used to inject a dye into the major blood vessel(s) of an organ. The amount of dye used depends on the size and function of the organ’s blood vessels. While the dye is injected, many X-ray images are quickly taken. The goal is to clearly see how blood flows through the kidney or other organ. 

You should tell your doctor if you are pregnant, use blood thinners (like aspirin) or have known kidney problems. 

Possible complications may include reaction to the dye, bleeding and injury to the artery.

More Information

What are the dangers of this test?

  • There could be damage to your blood vessels. It is critical to work with a doctor experienced with angiography.
  • A contrast dye can cause an allergic reaction for some people. Tell your doctor if you are allergic to contrast materials, iodine or seafood. This may put you at a higher risk for a reaction.
  • This test should not be given to someone who is pregnant, or has bleeding problems.

Updated May 2024. 


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