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Angiography / PTA

Angiography is a radiological examination technique used to visualise arterial blood vessels. It is often used to diagnose occlusive peripheral arterial disease (intermittent claudication).

In most cases, the inguinal artery is punctured with a very fine needle and then a small catheter is inserted into the vessel. Vascular changes such as constrictions, blood clots or aneurysms can be visualised using contrast agent and, depending on the situation, can be opened up with a balloon catheter. The balloon catheter is positioned in the constricted vessel and inflated. This locally dilates the vessel wall so that the blood can flow through freely again. In some cases, however, Percutaneous Transluminal Angioplasty (PTA) does not suffice. In such cases, a wire mesh (STENT) can be deployed to reinforce the vessel wall.

Examination

Preparation

  • Please inform us if you are pregnant
  • Do not eat anything for 3 hours prior to the examination
  • You may drink water or unsweetened tea
  • Blood-thinners should be discontinued after consulting your attending doctor
  • Other medicines may be continued, unless otherwise directed by a doctor
  • Diabetics should make sure they have a good blood sugar level at the time of the appointment
  • Please note that you are not allowed to drive after the examination, as your road awareness may be impaired. You should therefore organise to be escorted home well in advance. You are also not allowed to take any important decisions, such as signing legal contracts.

What to bring along

  • Current test results (kidney function, coagulation); please ask your doctor about these results.
  • Health insurance card
  • Reading material or music to help you rest after the examination

Procedure

Please be sure to inform the examining radiologist or the medical-technical staff of any allergies (asthma, hay fever), kidney dysfunction, thyroid diseases or iodine hypersensitivity before the examination.

The examination is carried out by a radiology or angiology specialist and can take anywhere from one to several hours in complex vascular cases.

The treatment is usually carried out in a supine position. Your groin area will be shaved, disinfected and covered with sterile drapes for sterile procedures. A local anaesthetic is applied to the puncture site so that you do not feel the catheter being inserted. As the contrast agent is administered, you will notice a temporary feeling of warmth. It is important that you do not move while the X-rays are taken. A compression bandage will be applied after the examination and you should neither stand up, sit up or bend your punctured leg so that bruising can be prevented. The doctor will determine the timing for removing the compression bandage.

After the examination

  • Following the examination, you will be taken to the day care centre for about half a day of rest in bed. During this time, you must lie as still as possible so that the punctured area can close up again. The compression bandage will normally remain in place for up to 6 hours.
  • During the rest period, your blood pressure and the healing of the puncture site will be checked at regular intervals
  • Do not exert any major physical effort after discharge from the hospital
  • Do not drive
  • You can eat and drink normally