Angiography and angioplasty are two procedures used to diagnose and treat heart and vascular conditions. While angiography is used to evaluate your blood vessels for a potential heart condition, angioplasty widens the narrow arteries to treat your condition.
Angiography is an X-ray exam of the arteries and veins to diagnose blockages and other blood vessel problems. During the angiogram, the doctor inserts a thin tube (catheter) into the artery through a small nick in the skin about the size of the tip of a pencil. A substance called a contrast agent (X-ray dye) is injected to make the blood vessels visible on the X-ray. One of the most common reasons for angiograms is to see if there is a blockage or narrowing in a blood vessel that may interfere with the normal flow of blood through the body. In many cases, the vascular interventionalists can treat a blocked blood vessel without surgery at the same time the angiogram is performed. They treat blockages with techniques called angioplasty and stent placement.
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