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Angiography

Angiography or arteriography is a medical imaging technique used to visualize the inside, or lumen, of blood vessels and organs of the body, with particular interest in the arteries, veins and the heart chambers. This is traditionally done by injecting a radio-opaque contrast agent into the blood vessel and imaging using X-ray based techniques such as fluoroscopy. The film or image of the blood vessels is called an angiograph, or more commonly an angiogram. Though the word can describe both an arteriogram and a venogram, in everyday usage the terms angiogram and arteriogram are often used synonymously, whereas the term venogram is used more precisely.

The term angiography has been applied to radionuclide angiography and newer vascular imaging techniques such as CT angiography and MR angiography. The term isotope angiography has also been used, although this more correctly is referred to as isotope perfusion scanning. Depending on the type of angiogram, access to the blood vessels is gained most commonly through the femoral artery, to look at the left side of the heart and at the arterial system; or the jugular or femoral vein, to look at the right side of the heart and at the venous system. Using a system of guide wires and catheters, a type of contrast agent (which shows up by absorbing the X-rays), is added to the blood to make it visible on the x-ray images.