Angiography is an Important Medical Test to Measure Blood Flows

Angiography is a medical procedure that allows your doctor to examine your arteries and the blood flow in your body. This procedure is essential in helping doctors diagnose several medical conditions. It also offers them the chance to intervene and treat abnormalities like blockages, especially those affecting the brain and heart.

Essentially, angiography is a type of X-ray that doctors use to check out your blood vessels. This is because a regular X-ray does not clearly show your blood vessels. The images from this X-ray are referred to as angiograms.

Suppose you are getting an angiography performed. The doctor usually numbs your body before inserting a needle close to the artery they want to observe. A catheter is then inserted in the needle into your artery. If you have an aneurysm or heart disease, the doctor may want to have your angiography since it will help them figure out what treatment is best for you.

Why is Angiography Performed?

Angiography is a necessary test that is beneficial for any individual who has to undergo it. The test aims to help your doctors locate any blockages in your brain, heart, lung, and other small blood vessels. This procedure is also helpful in finding aneurysms and sites of internal bleeding, which can cause significant health problems.

When angiography is performed, it allows your doctor to observe internal bleeding, problems with your heart's structure, abnormal blood flow often caused when your blood vessels narrow down, or any other obstructions they need to get rid of. It is worth mentioning that abnormal blood flow often affects all the organs supplied by the blood vessels. As a result, this increases the risk of you having a stroke, heart attack, chest pains, or other disorders.

Besides helping doctors come up with a diagnosis, angiography is also essential because doctors can use it to deliver treatment. For instance, it can be performed to open up your narrowed down arteries or remove blockages. Stents or fixed dilators can also be deployed to help widen your arteries and seal off or coil aneurysms through an angiography procedure.

What Do the Results Show?

Usually, when your doctor performs an angiogram on you, there are two approaches. The first is often the diagnostic approach that allows them to examine the nature of the problem better. The other is the treatment approach that enables them to intervene and correct the problem immediately.

The nature of this procedure requires immediate intervention when the patient is medicated and there is arterial access. Before the angiogram, your doctor will let you know what they are likely to find and how they will correct any abnormalities they may find before completing the procedure.

The results may vary from individual to individual, but it is usually a pretty straightforward procedure, and you will be treated if necessary. You will be monitored for about four to six hours after the procedure and then given a set of instructions to follow. Before you are discharged, a radiologist will examine you, and then your doctor will discuss your test results with you.

Types of Angiography

There are several types of angiography based on the part of your body that your doctor is examining. Below are some of the most common types of angiography.

  • Cerebral angiography - This procedure can be used to treat narrowing that may contribute to stroke risk or transient ischemic attacks. A few hours after having a stroke, it may be possible for your doctor to remove a clot and reverse symptoms such as vision changes, loss of speech, numbness, and weakness.
  • Coronary angiography - This procedure often allows your doctor, usually a radiologist or interventional cardiologist, to identify the source and nature of the problem, make a diagnosis, then come up with the best treatment plan for you. This may include behavioral changes, medication, or surgery. Some of the disorders affecting your heart that may be identified and treated using angiography include chest injury, heart valve disease, aortic stenosis, and a congenital heart defect.
  • Microangiography - This procedure is used to examine other smaller blood vessels that supply other organs. It is often specifically used to address localized bleeding. This procedure can also be useful in identifying and treating cancerous tumors.

An angiogram is a pretty straightforward procedure, but you can talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.

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