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An angiogram is an imaging test that uses x-rays to view your body’s blood vessels. Physicians often use this test to study narrow, blocked, enlarged, or malformed arteries or veins in many parts of your body, including your brain, heart, abdomen, and legs. When the arteries are studied, the test is also called an arteriogram. If the veins are studied, it is called a venogram.  To create the x-ray images, your physician will inject a liquid, sometimes called "dye", through a thin, flexible tube, called a catheter. He or she threads the catheter into the desired artery or vein from an access point. The access point is usually in your groin but it can also be in your arm or, less commonly, a blood vessel in another location. This "dye, " properly called contrast, makes the blood flowing inside the blood vessels visible on an x-ray. The contrast is later eliminated from your body through your kidneys and your urine.

Sometimes physicians can also treat a problem during an angiogram. For instance, your physician may be able to dissolve a clot that he or she discovers during the test. A physician may also perform an angioplasty and stenting procedure to clear blocked arteries during an angiogram, depending on the location and extent of the blockage. An angiogram can also help your physician plan operations to repair the arteries for more extensive problems.


Your physician may recommend an angiogram to diagnose a variety of vascular conditions, including:


•    Blockages of the arteries outside of your heart, called peripheral artery disease (PAD)

•    Enlargements of the arteries, called aneurysms

•    Kidney artery conditions, called renovascular conditions

•    Problems in the arteries that branch off the aorta, called aortic arch conditions

•    Malformed arteries, called vascular malformations.

•    Problems with your veins, such as deep venous thrombosis (DVT) or

•    Blood clots in the lungs called pulmonary emboli.

 

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