How is angiography done and what is it for

Angiography is a diagnostic test that allows a better view of the inside of blood vessels, serving to assess their shape and diagnose possible diseases such as aneurysms or arteriosclerosis, for example.

In this way, this test can be done in several places on the body, such as the brain, heart or lungs, for example, depending on the disease you are trying to diagnose.

To facilitate the complete observation of the vessels, it is necessary to use a contrast product, which is injected through catheterization, which is a technique that uses a thin tube inserted in an artery in the groin or neck, to get to the desired site to evaluate.

Exam Price

The price of angiography can vary according to the location of the body to be evaluated, as well as the clinic selected, however, it is approximately 4 thousand reais.

What is angiography for

This test helps in the diagnosis of several problems, depending on where it is done. Some examples are:

Cerebral angiography

  • Brain aneurysm;
  • Brain tumor;
  • Presence of clots that can cause stroke;
  • Narrowing of cerebral arteries;
  • Cerebral hemorrhage.

Cardiac angiography

  • Congenital heart defects;
  • Changes in cardiac valves;
  • Narrowing of the arteries of the heart;
  • Decreased blood circulation in the heart;
  • Presence of clots, which can lead to infarction.

Pulmonary angiography

  • Malformations of the lung;
  • Aneurysm of the pulmonary arteries;
  • Pulmonary hypertension;
  • Pulmonary embolism;
  • Lung tumor.

Ocular angiography

  • Diabetic retinopathy;
  • Macular degeneration;
  • Tumors in the eyes;
  • Presence of clots.

This test is usually done only when other less invasive tests, such as MRI or CT scan, have failed to correctly identify the problem.

How the exam is done

To perform the exam, anesthesia is applied to the place where the catheter will be inserted, which is a small tube that is guided by the doctor to the place where the blood vessels are to be observed, which is usually inserted in the groin or neck.

After inserting the catheter to the location to be analyzed, the doctor injects the contrast and takes several x-rays on the X-ray machine. The contrast liquid is reflected by the rays imitated by the machine and, therefore, appears with a different color in the images taken, allowing you to observe the entire path of the vessel.

During the exam you remain awake, however, as it is necessary to remain as still as possible, the doctor can apply a medication to calm down and, therefore, it is possible to feel a little sleep.

This exam lasts about an hour, but it is possible to return home soon afterwards, since it is not necessary to use general anesthesia. In some cases, it may also be necessary to stitch and place a bandage on the site where the catheter was inserted.

How to prepare for the exam

To perform the exam it is important to fast for about 8 hours to avoid vomiting, especially if the doctor is going to use a remedy to calm down during the exam.

In addition, in some cases it is necessary to stop taking some medications 2 to 5 before the procedure, such as anticoagulants, coumadin, lovenox, metformin, glucophage aspirin, for example, therefore it is very important to inform the doctor about the remedies that is taking.

Care after the exam

In the 24 hours following the exam, physical activity should not be performed, remaining at rest, to avoid bleeding and the drugs of usual use should only be taken when the doctor tells you to.

Risks of angiography

The most common risk of this test is an allergic reaction to the contrast that is inserted, however the doctor usually has drugs prepared to inject if this happens. In addition, bleeding may also occur at the catheter insertion site or kidney problems due to the contrast. See more about the risks of exams using contrast.