What is it?

Angiography is an interventional procedure that uses ionizing radiation (x-rays) to depict vascular structures and disease. 

When is this exam indicated?

This procedure can identify vascular disease such as stenosis, occlusions, irregular conformation, bleeding, fistulas, describe malignant lesion vasculature. Angiography  is also used in a number of therapeutic procedures which can be carried out in the Interventional radiology suite  such as management of bleeding using embolization with  metal coils, glue, particles inserted through distal arteries to occlude bleeding or minimally invasive image-guided techniques for the treatment of tumors. An example is embolization which aims at cutting off tumor blood supply, under catheter guided image guidance, in which particles are conveyed directly to the blood vessels feeding the tumor. Particles can also convey local chemotherapy or can transport radioactive material (radioembolization).

How is it performed?

The exam is performed in the angiographic suite. Patients are administered a local anesthetic at the site in which a flexible, long catheter will be inserted, generally the femoral artery. This catheter is guided through the main vessels to the district under study. At the site of study, a radio-opaque constrast medium is injected.In certain cases, deep sedation may be needed. These exams are not performed as out-patient procedures. Usually, for angioraphy, blood count, creatinine and coagulation tests are required.


Side effects are those most commonly linked to bleeding, damage to vessels,  allergic reaction to contrast agents used during the procedure.  Please inform the doctors in case you are taking specific medication and  in case of  anti-aggregant or anti-coagulant medication. All patients need to fast prior to procedure for at least 12 hours. Water intake is permitted if the procedure is carried out with local anesthesia alone. This procedure uses  x -rays that produce radiation called "ionizing" radiation, that can induce damage to biological tissues. Radiation is needed to obtain diagnostic images . In order to minimize this risk as much as possible, for each examination with radiation we check whether it is really necessary (principle of justification) and, if so, we use the lowest possible radiation dose that allows us to obtain the best result (principle of optimization). The maximum optimization of our equipment is ensured by the constant control of a Specialist in Medical Physics that guarantees the maintenance of maximum efficiency. Women of childbearing age must exclude pregnancies in progress. In case of pregnancy, even if only suspected, it is essential to notify the physician, who will assess the advisability of the examination and, if the assessment of the risk-benefit ratio proposes its execution, will need to require an additional appropriate consent and notify the staff for the necessary precautions.

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