An angiogram is a picture of an artery taken using x-ray after contrast, with iodine injected into the blood vessel. There are four different types of angiograms.
1. Coronary Angiogram: The procedure, also called cardiac catheterization, is done under light sedation with local anaesthesia injected in the groin area. The blood vessel in the groin area (femoral artery) is then accessed using a needle, through which a wire followed by a tube (sheath) is inserted. There is no cutting involved. Through the sheath, another tube (catheter) is threaded to the blood vessels of the heart (coronary arteries). Images are then obtained using contrast under x-ray vision, and stents are implanted if blockages are identified. Depending on the site and type of blockages, occasionally open heart surgery (coronary artery bypass grafting) is recommended. Common indications are angina or heart attack.
2. Lower Extremity Angiogram: Like a coronary angiogram, images of the leg arteries are obtained and endovascular therapy is recommended depending on the type and location of the blockage. Indications are leg pain with walking, or non-healing ulcers of the legs.
3. Renal Angiogram: This is the x-ray image of the kidney arteries, done usually to assess blockage of the kidney arteries in patients with medication-resistant hypertension.
4. Carotid Angiogram: X-ray images of the carotid arteries (blood vessels supplying the face and brain) are obtained. This is done usually in patients who have high grade blockage identified on a carotid artery ultrasound, MRA (magnetic resonance angiography), or CT angiogram.