Preparation and Performance of Angiography

What is an angiography?

Digital subtraction angiography (DSA) is an X-ray procedure in which only blood vessels are visualized. DSA is the best method for imaging vessels in the body and is essential for diagnosing many diseases. During DSA, iodine-containing contrast medium is injected directly into an artery or vein, in neuroradiology usually in the head and neck region or spine/spinal cord. To reach the vessels supplying the brain, a plastic tube (catheter) is passed from the groin or over the arm to the carotid arteries. From here, contrast medium is then injected via the catheter and subsequently images of the blood vessels are taken.

How does an angiography work?

A DSA is performed while the patient is awake. The examiner has eye contact with the patient and can talk to the patient during the examination. First, a local anesthetic is injected via a small needle at the desired puncture site (groin, upper arm or even wrist). Then the desired vessel is punctured with a needle and a thin plastic tube (sheath) is inserted into the vessel, through which the catheter can subsequently be inserted. The catheter in the vessel is not felt. When contrast medium is injected, a feeling of heat, urge to urinate, flashes of light and dizziness may occur. All these side effects usually disappear after a short time. The examination usually lasts between 20-30 minutes. After the examination is completed, a pressure bandage will be applied and bed rest must be maintained to prevent postoperative bleeding. You will stay in the hospital for one night for monitoring.

Before the examination:

  • Prior information by a doctor about the risks (with us usually before outpatient)
  • Exclusion of pregnancy
  • Laboratory values for creatinine and TSH
  • Blood thinning medications do not have to be discontinued prior to a DSA

Last Modification: 27.07.2021 - Contact Person:

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