Angiography as an umbrella term means looking at blood vessels and arteries through x-ray imaging and the use of a contrast agent. Most people immediately think of the heart when they hear the word angiography. While coronary angiograms are common, angiography can refer to the blood transport system in any part of the body. A renal angiogram looks at the blood supply to the kidneys. Femoral, iliac, and popliteal angiograms inspect the leg, groin, and lower leg respectively. Angiography can also be used to study the arteries and veins in the neck that provide blood to the brain.
Your doctor can learn a lot from an angiogram. After a catheter is inserted, usually into the femoral artery or the groin, the operator directs it to the area at which the doctor wishes to look, and the contrast medium is released into the vein or artery. Images will show your doctor any blood vessel abnormalities such as blockages, inflammation, widening and bleeding, or narrowing.
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