A renal angiogram is an imaging test to look at the blood vessels in your kidneys. Your healthcare provider can use it to look at the ballooning of a blood vessel (aneurysm), narrowing of a blood vessel (stenosis), or blockages in a blood vessel. He or she can also see how well blood is flowing to your kidneys.
For the test, the radiologist injects a contrast dye into the artery that brings blood into the kidney. Then he or she uses X-ray images to watch the dye as it flows through the blood vessels in the kidneys.
X-rays use a small amount of radiation to create images of your bones and internal organs. A renal angiogram is one type of X-ray.
Fluoroscopy is used during a renal angiogram. Fluoroscopy is a kind of X-ray movie.
You may need a renal angiogram to help your healthcare provider find problems in the blood vessels of your kidneys. These problems may include:
You may also need a renal angiogram to help your provider diagnose:
You may need a renal angiogram if another test such as a CT scan or MRI did not give your provider enough information.
Your healthcare provider may have other reasons to recommend a renal angiogram.
You may want to ask your healthcare provider about the amount of radiation used during the test. Also ask about the risks as they apply to you.
Consider writing down all X-rays you get, including past scans and X-rays for other health reasons. Show this list to your provider. The risks of radiation exposure may be tied to the number of X-rays you have and the X-ray treatments you have over time.
Tell your healthcare provider if you:
Possible complications of a renal angiogram include:
You may have other risks depending on your specific health condition. Be sure to talk with your provider about any concerns you have before the procedure.
Certain things can make a renal angiogram less accurate. These include:
You may have a renal angiogram as an outpatient or as part of your stay in a hospital. The way the test is done may vary depending on your condition and your healthcare provider's practices.
Generally, a renal angiogram follows this process:
You will be taken to the recovery room. A nurse will watch your vital signs and the injection site. He or she will check the circulation and sensation in the leg where the catheter was used.
You will need to lie flat in bed for several hours after the test. The leg or arm used for the injection site will be kept straight for up to 12 hours.
You may be given pain medicine to ease pain or discomfort from the injection site or from having to lie flat and still.
You will be told to drink water and other fluids to help flush the contrast dye from your body.
When you leave the recovery room, you may go to a hospital room or be sent home. If you had the test done as an outpatient, you will need to have someone drive you home.
You may go back to your usual diet and activities after the test, unless your healthcare provider tells you otherwise.
Once at home, you should watch the injection site for bleeding. A small bruise is normal. So is an occasional drop of blood at the site.
You should watch the leg or arm for changes in temperature or color, pain, numbness, tingling, or loss of movement.
Drink plenty of fluids to help the contrast dye leave your body. Fluids will also keep you from getting dehydrated.
You may not be able to do any strenuous activities or take a hot bath or shower for a period of time after the test.
Tell your healthcare provider if any of these occur:
Your healthcare provider may give you other instructions, depending on your situation.
Before you agree to the test or the procedure make sure you know: