Catheter Angiography to Determine the Condition of Blood Vessels

Angiography is a minimally invasive medical test that helps doctors diagnose and treat medical conditions. Angiography is done to image blood vessels in various parts of the body including the kidney, brain and heart, so as to determine whether the blood vessels are diseased, narrowed, enlarged or blocked altogether. Catheter angiography is widely used in patients who may undergo surgery, angioplasty or stent placement.

Angiography uses one of three imaging technologies to produce pictures of major blood vessels throughout the body. The three imagining techniques are as mentioned below:
  • Computed Tomography (CT)
  • X-Rays With Catheters
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
In catheter angiography, a thin plastic tube, called a catheter is passed through an artery to the area being examined. The catheter is inserted through a small incision in the skin. Once the catheter is guided to the body area of interest, a contrast material is injected through the tube and images are captured using a small dose of ionizing radiation. The contrast material highlights the vessels when x-rays are taken.

Some of the applications of catheter angiography are as follows:
  • Helps to prepare for surgery on diseased blood vessels in the legs of patients
  • Shows the severity of atherosclerosis in the coronary arteries
  • Detects atherosclerotic disease in the carotid artery of the neck, which may limit blood flow to the brain and can cause stroke.
  • Identifies an intracranial aneurysm or other disorders of the blood vessels in the brain
  • Determines the state of the aorta and detect an aneurysm of this vessel.
  • Identifies a source of bleeding
  • Evaluates disease in the renal artery
Angiography is used to plan an operation or to decide the best surgical procedure. Nowadays, catheter angiography has been replaced by less invasive methods, such as computed tomography (CT) angiography and magnetic resonance (MR) angiography that do not require catheter insertion.

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