Angiography produces X-ray pictures of the inside of blood vessels. When blood vessels are blocked, damaged or abnormal in any way, chest pain, heart attack, stroke or other problems may occur. The images from angiography help your physician determine both the source of the problem and the extent of damage to the parts of the blood vessels being examined.
To see inside the blood vessels, a catheter is passed through an artery to the area being studied, and then contrast material is injected to highlight the vessels while the X-rays are taken. The test can show the extent and severity of atherosclerosis in the coronary and carotid arteries, as well as diseased vessels in the brain, kidneys, legs and other parts of the body.
CT angiography (CTA) and MR angiography (MRA) may be used in place of diagnostic angiography to minimize patient discomfort. These scans take only a few minutes and give doctors detailed information on abnormalities in arteries that supply blood to the brain, lungs, kidneys, intestines and legs.
CTA may also be used to evaluate coronary artery disease, the effects of heart attack or to assess the severity of a stroke.
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