Renal arteriography

What is Renal Arteriography?

Renal arteriography is an imaging test that uses X-rays and an injectable contrast material to produce pictures of the renal arteries, the blood vessels that supply the kidneys, and the organs they supply. It helps doctors evaluate and diagnose blockages, diseases, or other abnormalities in the arteries in the abdomen and chest.

Preparation for Renal Arteriography

Prior to the procedure, a healthcare provider may require that certain tests be performed to ensure that the patient is medically stable enough to undertake the procedure. These tests may include a complete blood count, electrolyte levels, and other medically relevant tests. Patients may also be asked to sign a consent form that details the procedure and any associated risks.

Renal Arteriography Procedure

During the procedure, a healthcare provider inserts a thin catheter (tubing) into an artery in the groin, arm, or neck. Next, the catheter is slowly advanced to the blood vessels in the kidneys. Contrast material is then injected through the catheter, and X-ray pictures are taken of the blood vessels.

Types of Renal Arteriography

  • Conventional Angiography – During conventional angiography, a contrast material is injected through a catheter into the renal artery and X-rays are taken of the blood vessels.
  • Iodinated Contrast Enhanced Angiography – This type of angiography combines conventional angiography with the injection of an iodinated contrast material.
  • CT Angiography – This type of angiography uses computed tomography (CT) imaging to take pictures and is typically used in cases of suspected vascular abnormalities.
  • MR Angiography – This type of angiography uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and is most often used to detect blood clots in renal arteries.

Risks of Renal Arteriography

Although renal arteriography is generally safe, there are potential risks including allergic reaction to the contrast material used during the procedure, radiation exposure, infection, bleeding, and damage to the blood vessels.

Why is Renal Arteriography Performed?

Renal Arteriography is most often used to diagnose and evaluate diseases of the kidneys, such as renal artery stenosis (narrowing of the renal arteries), renovascular hypertension (high blood pressure due to narrowing of the renal arteries), aneurysms, and arterial blockages. The procedure can also be used to diagnose and treat diseases of the liver, adrenal glands, small intestines, and spleen.

When is Renal Arteriography Performed?

Renal arteriography is usually performed when other tests, such as ultrasounds and CT scans, fail to provide sufficient information. It is also performed after medical or surgical treatments as a way to measure their effectiveness.