Catheter directed angiography is an invasive test which involves putting a catheter into a blood vessel from a site in the groin or arm, usually the right groin and injecting IV dye (also known as contrast) to produce pictures of blood vessels that are used for diagnosis and treatment. Angioplasty is a technique of opening up a narrowing (also known as a stenosis) or blockages of a blood vessel with a balloon. Sometimes it is necessary to place a small metal cage to hold this area open and this is known as a stent.
What should I expect?
You will be in a procedure room that looks similar to an operating room with an x-ray camera in the center. Patients usually receive moderate sedation for the procedure, you will not need general anesthesia. After numbing up an area in the groin, your radiologist will place a small tube in an artery in your groin. Through the tube, your radiologist will place a smaller catheter into the arteries and contrast will be injected. You will be asked to hold your breath at various points during the procedure. At the end of the procedure, the catheter will be removed, and pressure will be held over the site for 10-20 minutes. You will need to lie flat and be monitored by staff with your leg straight for 6 hours after the procedure to minimize the risk of bleeding.
What are the alternatives?
In many patients, similar information can be obtained with a CTA, MRA or doppler ultrasound which are noninvasive tests. Sometimes these do not provide enough information and this is when catheter directed angiography is indicated.
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