Angiography is a medical imaging technique for viewing blood vessels. It can be used to check for blockages, restrictions, or other abnormalities.
A catheter is used to gain access to the blood vessels, generally through the femoral artery, though the jugular vein may also be used. This long flexible catheter is guided through the blood vessels, and uses an x-ray contrast agent to allow fluoroscopy to be used to view the arteries or veins on the viewing monitor.
Angiography may be used to view the vessels of the legs and arms (peripheral angiography), or it may be used to view the vessels in the heart (coronary angiography) or the lungs (pulmonary angiography).
A stent is a tiny mesh tube that is inserted into a vessel to reshape the vessel walls. They are often inserted into blood vessels that have been narrowed by plaque buildup (atherosclerosis) or due to collapse. Angioplasty is often performed to widen the blood vessel, then a stent is placed inside the blood vessel to prevent the blood vessel from collapsing or narrowing again.
Angioplasty is used to widen narrowed or obstructed blood vessels, such as can be caused by peripheral artery disease.
To perform angioplasty, a balloon catheter is inserted into a vein or artery and guided through your circulatory system to the narrowed section of the artery or vein, then the balloon is expanded to compress plaque and widen the blood vessel. Once the vessel has been widened, a stent may be placed in the vessel to hold it open and prevent future problems.