Angiography is a radiological examination and is used to diagnose diseases due to the narrowing or blockage of blood vessels. The imaging is done with the help of diagnostic imaging methods such as X-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MR angiography) or computer tomography (CT angiography).
To visualise the vessels, it is necessary to use a so-called contrast medium. First, a thin catheter is inserted into the vessel. Then, a first X-ray image is taken without contrast medium. This image is drawn as a guide image. Immediately after the contrast medium has been added, a second X-ray is taken. Both images are digitally processed and the vessels become visible. With these images, the doctor has a detailed overview of the blood vessels and any irregularities.
Small surgical interventions can be performed using catheters inserted into the vessels:
These products may be combined with pharmaceutical products, in various forms of chemoembolisation:
In its diagnostic role, angiography can be used to visualise stenosis, dilation, vessels of irregular appearance and hypervascular tumours. In certain indications, it has been replaced by non-invasive investigations, such as a CT or MRI scan.
In contrast, the therapeutic applications of interventional angiography mean that it remains relevant, and these applications continue to expand.