by Rachel Bhan

Angiography or angeiography, was initially used as a portrayal of the weights and measures. The X-ray film or image of the blood vessels is called an angiograph or an angiogram. The most common angiogram performed is to envisage the blood in the coronary arteries. Catheter, a long, thin, flexible tube is used to administer the radio contrast agent at the area to be visualized. Angiography is also commonly performed to identify vessel narrowing in patients with diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration.

Angiography is a sort of x-ray that is done to image blood vessels in diverse parts of the body, including the heart, brain and kidneys. This is done to determine whether the vessels are diseased, tapering, blocked or engorged.

Types of Angiography

The various types of angiography include:

  • Peripheral angiography
  • Cerebral angiography
  • Pulmonary angiography
  • Retinal angiography
  • Coronary angiography
  • Lymphangiography
  • Visceral angiography
  • Right heart ventriculography
  • Left heart ventriculography
  • Magnetic resonance angiography
  • Aortography.

Coronary or cardiac angiography is an X-ray assessment of the blood vessels or chambers of the heart to identify obstruction leading to heart attack. A catheter is inserted into a blood vessel in the groin or arm, after the area is insensitised by an anesthetic. The tip of the tube is positioned in the heart or at the beginning of the arteries, and a special fluid (called a contrast material or dye) is injected. The progress of the fluid is detectable by X-ray, and the pictures that are obtained are called angiograms. The dye highlights the obstruction in blood flow. Avoid eating or drinking anything, 8 hours before the test commences. The physician should be informed if the individual is pregnant, allergic to seafood or on an aphrodisiac.

Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) is used to identify diseases in the aorta and in blood vessels of the legs, kidneys and lungs. It is used in the treatment of heart disorders, stroke, and blood vessel diseases. The procedure is painless. The magnetic field used for MRA will attract iron-containing object in the body, such as an intrauterine device, joint replacement, heart pacemaker, metal plate, or staples. All metallic accessories such as hair pins, dental work, jewellery should be removed. The magnetic field causes no damage to the tissues. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a method wherein the electromagnetic energy is measured and analyzed by a computer, and meticulous pictures of body tissues and organs without x-rays are provided. The images are viewed on a TV monitor. MR angiography (MRA) is an MRI study of the blood vessels. No contrast material is utilized.

MRA is less costly than catheter angiography. Detailed images of blood vessels and blood flow are obtained without inserting a catheter, thereby preventing arterial damage.

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