Venous Angiogram and Angioplasty
Guide to Venous Angiogram and Angioplasty
An angiogram is a procedure that uses X-Rays and contrast dye to evaluate blockages within the circulatory system. It’s a diagnostic procedure, but it is usually done in conjunction with angioplasty—it’s a very powerful tool!
An angiogram uses X-rays and Contrast dye in conjunction to find blocked, unhealthy portions within the arterial system.
These blockages are created as a result of previous disease—like atherosclerosis.
Once a blockage has been located, your surgeon has the option of performing balloon angioplasty, placing a stent to clear the vein, or leaving it alone.
• This procedure is usually performed under anesthesia, as it requires you to be sedated while it is performed.
• Once you are sedated, your doctor will tap the femoral artery within your groin. From here, he has access to the vascular system in its entirety.
• Once the doctor has made it into the vein, he can inject the contrast dye and use the x-ray machine to find arterial blockages all over your body.
• Once a blockage has been found, your doctor will maneuver his catheter to the affected area.
• Once at the affected area, the doctor has a choice to treat the blockage. His mode of therapy depends on the characteristics of the blockage, and is left up to his professional decision.
• This treatment involves either balloon the blockage (which is considered successful if less than 30% of the blockage remains) or place a stent to permanently hold the artery open.
• Once the procedure has been finished, you will be instructed to rest for about 4-6 hours to make sure there is no bleeding from the artery.
If, during the procedure, the doctor decides that surgery is a better option, he may conclude the angiogram by taking many x-ray pictures and preparing for a arterial bypass of the occluded, or blocked artery.
How should I prepare for an Angiogram?
Your doctor should be informed of any allergies that you may have to medications—specifically Iodine. He should also be informed of any possible pregnancies, as iodine and other medications can damage a fetus.
You should leave any loose jewelry and clothing at home. You will be sedated for up to eight hours, so your doctor may ask you to not eat anything for a period of time before the procedure. Make sure you are clear on all instructions, and transparent with your doctor.
Potential Risks of an Angiogram
• There is always the risk of cancer from exposure to X-Rays. However, the benefit of an accurate diagnosis and, perhaps, treatment far outweighs this.
• A pseudoaneurism, or blood clot, may form where the catheter entered the femoral artery. This means the surgeon will have to reoperate on the artery to open it.
• There is an extremely small risk of an allergic reaction to the contrast material. Radiology departments are very well equipped to deal with this.
• In certain scenarios, a pieces of artery or blockage may break off and cause an embolus. However, a vascular surgeon is very well equipped to deal with scenario.
• A doctor should always be informed of the possibility of pregnancy, as to not damage the fetus.
• Individuals with diabetes or compromised kidneys may experience issues processing the contrast solution and go into renal failure. However, the American College of Radiation (ACR) suggests normal kidney function will return within 5-7 days.