Types of Angiographies

A procedure known as angiography is done to create an image and or film of blood vessels and organs within the body. This procedure is done by a contrast dye being injected into the blood stream, followed by a series of x-rays of the area in question. Types of angiography are a coronary angiography, which is used to diagnose coronary artery disease, heart disease, atherosclerosis, aneurisms, and atheroma, neuro-vascular angiography, which is conducted to determine the blood flow to the brain, micro angiography, which is done to examine tiny blood vessels throughout the body, peripheral angiography, which is used to diagnose and repair circulation in the legs or feet and also to determine stroke damage in the brain, and retinal angiography, which determines various vascular disorders within the eye, which may include macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.

In addition to those types of angiography, it may also be employed to diagnose various conditions which include kidney disease, arteries feeding tumors, endocrine diseases, blood clots, and liver tumors.

How an Angiogram is Performed

An angiogram is preformed in a hospital by a surgeon. This is often conducted on an outpatient basis. The duration of the angiogram is approximately one hour, but the patient will most likely spend the better part of the day in the hospital due to preparation and recovery time.

The general steps a patient can expect to encounter during an angiogram are:

The region for insertion, typically the arm or groin, are anesthetized. A catheter is inserted into the body and the dye is injected. The catheter will then be guided through the vessels to the examination area. Multiple x-rays are then taken, which analyzes the blood flow at the affected area. The catheter is then removed, pressure is applied on the insertion area, and the patient is then monitored during recovery.

This procedure is categorized as a low-risk activity, with a 98 percent or better success rate. It is considered an invasive surgery, so there is the possibility of complications. The most common risks associated with an angiogram include allergic reactions to the dye, damage to the blood vessels that were accessed, X-ray radiation damage, infection, heart attack, stroke, brain damage, kidney damage from certain types of dye, blood clots, and death. Generally, the benefits of this diagnostic procedure outweigh the potential dangers associated with the test.

Malpractice and Negligence

Angiograms do enable an opportunity for malpractice, negligence, and patient injury. Common errors associated with this procedure range from artery damage, which can lead to strokes and paralysis, improper or insufficient pre-op and post-op care, incorrect prescription or administration of anesthetic or other medical drugs, and failure to respond to complications that may occur during or after surgery. A malpractice claim can be filed if grounds exist that generally accepted standards of medical practice were not met.

In the event that negligence occurred, victims filing a successful lawsuit will receive compensation for additional costs incurred, pain and suffering, loss of income, damages, and even wrongful death. If death occurs additional compensation is available for costs associated with funerals as well as loss of companionship. This suit requires a certificate of merit issued by an expert that verified the medical professional failed to perform according to acceptable standards.