What is an angiography?

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Angiography is an X-ray exam of the arteries and veins to diagnose blockages and other blood vessel problems. During an angiography, a thin tube (catheter) is used to enter the blood vessel and a contrast agent (X-ray dye) is injected to make the artery or vein visible on the X-ray.
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Angiography literally means study of the blood vessels. In these circumstances a catheter is introduced in the artery and advanced to the blood vessels, which may be diseased or blocked. In these circumstances these could be heart arteries, leg arteries, kidney arteries or neck/brain arteries. When the catheter is placed at the appropriate spot contrast die is injected through the catheter to evaluate for any blockages in these arteries. A moving x-ray, called fluoroscopy is used to visualize these blockages. During these procedures patients are usually sedated but are awake and are given topical anesthetics at the site that the catheter is introduced.
Angiography is a type of imaging test that allows doctors to view blood vessels throughout the body and diagnose blockages, enlargements, clots, and malformations. An angiogram to study the arteries is called an arteriogram; one to study the veins is called a venogram.