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Angiography/ Interventional RadiologyAngiography is a diagnostic procedure that is performed by a radiologist (a specialized doctor) with the assistance of a nurse and a technologist. Angiography is used to examine the blood vessels for blockages and other conditions by observing the flow of blood in the veins and arteries. A contrast (dye) is injected into the patient to visualize the blood vessels.

Angiograms are performed in many areas including the arms, legs, heart, lungs and brain. These tests help doctors to determine if there are blood vessel blockages, weakening of the vessels, internal bleeding and/or damage to the circulatory system caused by illness, or injury. In some cases, doctors are able to treat the problem during the angiogram procedure.

Patients lie on the x-ray table. The patient is given a local freezing at the needle site (similar to dental freezing). The radiologist will make a small incision in the skin. The incision is most commonly made at the site of major blood vessels such as the groin, arm, and neck. A small catheter (tube) is inserted and contrast (dye) can then be injected to make the blood vessels and other internal structures visible on the X-ray. X-rays are use to guide and locate the position of the catheter (tube) until it reaches the area to be examined.

Patients may experience mild discomfort and a warm sensation with the movement of the catheter and injection of contrast solution. The most common causes of discomfort are the application of the local anesthetic and the need to stay still for periods of time while images are being taken. Please let the radiologist, technologist or nurse know if you are uncomfortable.

Angiogram testing can vary from one to three hours. A period of rest will be required after the procedure in order to monitor blood clotting and to allow for sedatives to wear off. Additional bed rest is usually required when patients return home.

Interventional Radiology
Interventional Radiology is a method of treatment that uses X-rays- to guide the insertion of catheters (tubes), wires, and other instruments into the body through blood vessels and organs. Interventional radiology is often used as an alternative to much more invasive procedures such as surgery in order to enhance the quality of life for patients.

Interventional Radiology procedures also involve making a small incision (cut) into the skin. Small instruments are inserted into the incisions for the treatment of blockages and other conditions.
A peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) line insertion is an intravenous line (IV) placed in the vein, usually in the elbow area. This intravenous line may be left in the vein for an extended period of time. A nurse is able to access this line by a small port left outside the vein. This intravenous line may be used to deliver medications or fluids or for taking blood for tests. The PICC line is inserted into a vein using "sterile" technique. After the catheter is positioned, small sutures will help secure the catheter in place. A small bandage will be used to cover the insertion site.


Updated May 9, 2019