Peripheral Angiography - Mapping Blood Flow Through Your
Peripheral Angiography is an out-patient
procedure that helps find blood vessel problems in your lower body
and legs. Because arteries do not show up on ordinary x-rays,
arteriograms utilize a "contrast agent" containing iodine, which is
injected into the arteries to make them visible on radiographs. It
makes a "map" of the vessels (arteries) that carry blood through
your body. This map can show where blood flow may be blocked.
Blockages can cause painful leg cramps while walking. They can also
keep foot wounds from healing. Problems with the arteries may lead
to a variety of complications such as stroke, high blood pressure
or leg pain.
The type of treatment your particular condition may require will
be determined by your angiogram. Once the doctor knows the cause of
your symptoms, he or she can find the best treatment for you.
The angiogram is done under local anesthesia while you are
awake. Medication will be given to make you drowsy before the
procedure. You will have an intravenous (IV) infusion started to be
sure you get enough fluid and to provide a way to give you any
sedation or medication required for your comfort during the
procedure. The procedure can take anywhere from one to three hours.
You will be required to have some blood testing prior to your
admission. Be sure to mention to your doctor all medications you
may be taking, especially if you are taking insulin or blood
thinners (such as coumadin). Also discuss any allergies to foods or
A tiny skin incision is made near an artery in your groin. This
is the insertion site. You doctor inserts a catheter (thin tube)
through the site. He or she then slides the catheter into an artery
while viewing a video monitor. Contrast "dye" is injected into the
catheter. You may feel warmth or pressure in your legs and back.
You lie still as x-rays are taken. The catheter is then removed.
Pressure is applied to the site by hand or with a special belt.
Afterward, you'll be taken to a recovery area. A doctor or nurse
will keep applying pressure to the site for about 10 minutes. You
will need to keep your leg still and straight for a few hours. Your
doctor will discuss the results with you soon after the