Angiography is a medical imaging technique used to visualize the inside of blood vessels and organs of the body, with particular interest in the arteries, veins, and the heart chambers. This is traditionally done by injecting an IV dye into the blood vessel and imaging using X-ray based techniques such as fluoroscopy. It is a procedure commonly used to find vessel narrowing in patients with leg cramps, caused by reduced blood flow down the legs and to the feet; in patients with renal stenosis (which commonly causes high blood pressure) and can be used in the head to find and repair stroke.
In the 1980s, carbon dioxide began being used with angiography and became a useful diagnostic tool, particularly in patients who were sensitive to other testing materials or whose kidney function was compromised. Now CO2 angiography has become widely used for vascular imaging and other procedures.
“At Greenbrier Valley Medical Center, we have the ability with modern cath lab imaging, to use carbon dioxide contrast for angiography in many cases for various vascular interventions,” said Dr. Duangnapa Cuddy, vascular surgeon with Hope Vascular Associates.
According to Cuddy, the advantages of using carbon dioxide angiography are no allergic reactions, no kidney or liver toxicity, and the CO2 is eliminated by respiration.
Angiograms can be done routinely through the artery in the leg, but can also be performed through the arm. If narrowing of the vein is found it may be treated by the use of atherectomy, balloon angioplasty, or stenting.
These treatments can be achieved with minimal invasiveness by using a needle puncture into an artery, and then through this puncture site, various small devices can be delivered to treat the blockage lesion. The procedure allows the vascular surgeon to treat the vascular flow blockage lesion without major surgery, and therefore less perioperative risk. This is a great benefit to patients because recovery time and risk is decreased.
Cuddy is a vascular surgeon with Hope Vascular Associates and member of the medical staff of Greenbrier Valley Medical Center. Cuddy is skilled in the medical and surgical management of all the diseases that affect the arteries and veins outside the heart.