Extremity angiography, or peripheral angiography is a test used to see the arteries in the hands, arms, feet, or legs.
Angiography is an imaging test that uses x-rays and a special dye to see inside the arteries. Arteries are blood vessels that carry blood away from the heart.
Angiography/arteriography of the extremity; Peripheral angiography; Lower extremity angiogram; Peripheral angiogram
How the test is performed
Extremity angiography is done in a special unit of a hospital. You will lie on an x-ray table. You may ask for a sedative if you are anxious about the test.
The health care provider will shave and clean an area, usually in the groin.
- A numbing medicine (anesthetic) is injected into the skin over an artery, and a needle is inserted into that artery.
- A thin plastic tube called a catheter is passed through the needle, into the artery. It is guided up into the area of the body being studied. The doctor can see live images of the area on a TV-like monitor, and uses them as a guide.
- The dye flows through the catheter. X-ray images are taken of the artery.
Certain treatments can be done during this procedure. Items are passed through the catheter to the area in the artery that needs treatment. These treatments include:
- Dissolving a blood clot with medicine
- Opening a partially blocked artery with a balloon
- Placing a small tube called a stent into an artery to help hold it open
The health care team will check your
After the x-rays are taken, the catheter is removed. Pressure is immediately applied at the site of insertion for 10 - 15 minutes to stop the bleeding. After that time, the area is checked and a bandage is applied.
The arm or leg where the needle was placed should be kept straight for 6 hours after the procedure. You should avoid strenuous activity, such as heavy lifting, for 24 - 48 hours.
Review Date: 11/18/2010
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by Shabir Bhimji, MD, PhD, Specializing in General Surgery, Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery, Midland, TX. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.