Peripheral angiography and intervention are procedures used to diagnose, evaluate, and treat a vascular condition called peripheral artery disease (PAD). PAD is a condition in which there is an obstruction in the peripheral arteries that supply blood, oxygen, and nutrients to your neck, arms, abdomen, and/or legs. PAD most commonly occurs in the legs. According to the American College of Cardiology, the most common cause of PAD is atherosclerosis, which is a buildup of a fatty substance called plaque on the inside walls of the arteries.
Peripheral angiography is a type of peripheral vascular imaging study that uses X-ray imaging and contrast dye to view the peripheral arteries and identify locations in which blood flow is being restricted by a blockage or narrowing of the artery.
Peripheral Angiography with Intervention
Sometimes peripheral angiography will include an interventional procedure that is used to open up the blocked or narrowed peripheral artery. Many of these procedures are types of percutaneous transluminal angioplasty (PTA). PTA is usually just referred to as angioplasty.
There are several types of angioplasty that can be performed to treat PAD:
- Peripheral balloon angioplasty: A catheter with a tiny, folded balloon on its tip is inserted into the artery. Once the doctor reaches the narrowed or blocked artery, they inflate the balloon, which opens the artery. Sometimes balloons are coated with special medications that prevent new blockages. The balloon is then deflated and removed with the catheter.
- Peripheral angioplasty with stent placement: This procedure is performed in the same way as balloon angioplasty. However, a tiny mesh tube called a stent is placed in the artery to keep it open. Some stents are coated with special medication that helps prevent further buildup.
- Rotational atherectomy: A special tool in a catheter is used to drill out calcium deposits in the arteries.
What to Expect
Peripheral angiography and interventional procedures are performed in a catheterization (cath) lab. You may be required to stay overnight in the hospital, but some procedures are done on an outpatient basis. Here are some of the things you can expect during angiography:
- During the procedure, you will lie on your back on an X-ray table. You will be given an IV that will deliver fluids and medications such as sedatives.
- A local anesthetic will be injected into the place on the groin or arm where the catheter will be inserted.
- A small incision is made at the entry site in the groin or arm and a small tube called a sheath is inserted into the artery.
- The catheter is inserted through the sheath and carefully threaded to the peripheral arteries being studied. Once it is in place, the contrast dye is injected through the catheter.
- The contrast material makes the peripheral arteries highly visible on the X-ray. The cardiologist will take several images of the arteries and identify places where the blood flow is restricted.
- Depending on what your doctor discovers during the angiogram, peripheral intervention procedures such as angioplasty may also be performed. Then the catheter is removed.
- You will be taken to a recovery area for observation.
- If the catheter was inserted through the groin, you’ll have to lie flat for several hours to prevent bleeding.
- You may be able to go home and rest the same day as the procedure or you may be required to stay overnight.
- Your cardiologist will give you instructions on when to start taking your regular medications again and when to resume other activities.
The physicians at Clearwater Cardiovascular Consultants have expertise in a range of outpatient cardiovascular services, peripheral angiography, and intervention. We offer patients comprehensive care that is backed by experience, expertise, and the latest technology. Call Clearwater Cardiovascular Consultants at 727-445-1911 to make an appointment, or request an appointment online.