Interventional Radiologists are Vascular Experts
Interventional radiologists use imaging to diagnose, understand and visualize the full scope of the pathology and to map out the procedure tailored to the individual patient. Angiography is an X-ray exam of the arteries and veins to diagnose blockages and other blood vessel problems.
An interventional radiologist performs this X-ray procedure, which is also called an angiogram. During the angiogram, the doctor inserts a thin tube (catheter) into the artery through a small nick in the skin about the size of the tip of a pencil. A substance called a contrast agent (X-ray dye) is injected to make the blood vessels visible on the X-ray.
One of the most common reasons for angiograms is to see if there is a blockage or narrowing in a blood vessel that may interfere with the normal flow of blood through the body. In many cases, the interventional radiologist can treat a blocked blood vessel without surgery at the same time the angiogram is performed. Interventional radiologists treat blockages with techniques called angioplasty and thrombolysis.
Additional Reasons for Performing Angiography or Angiogram
- aneurysms -- an area of a blood vessel that bulges or balloons out
- cerebral vascular disease, such as stroke or bleeding in the brain
- blood vessel malformations
Reprinted with permission of the Society of Interventional Radiology (c) 2004, www.SIRweb.org. All rights reserved.