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Renal Angiography

Renal angiography is a procedure done to study the blood vessels in the kidneys. The procedure is done through a catheter (thin, flexible tube) placed into a blood vessel through a small incision. Contrast medium (X-ray dye) is injected to make the blood vessels stand out on X-ray images. X-rays are then taken. The procedure is often done by a specially trained doctor called an interventional radiologist.

Kidneys and renal arteries.

Before the Procedure

Follow any instructions you are given on how to prepare, including:

  • Do not eat or drink anything for 6┬áhours before the procedure.

  • Tell the technologist what medications, herbs, or supplements you take; if you are, or may be, pregnant; or if you are allergic to contrast medium, or other medications.

During the Procedure

  • You'll change into a hospital gown and lie on an X-ray table. An IV (intravenous) line is put into a vein to give you fluids and medications. You may be given medication through the IV to help you relax.

  • The skin at the insertion site (usually at the groin) is numbed with local anesthetic. Then, a needle with a thin guide wire is inserted through the skin into the blood vessel. The catheter is placed over the guide wire into the blood vessel.

  • Contrast medium is injected into the blood vessel. Using X-ray images as a guide, the radiologist moves the catheter through the blood vessels to the kidney.

  • More contrast medium is injected into the blood vessels that supply the kidneys.

  • Remain still while the X-rays are being taken. Pillows and foam pads may help you stay in position. You may be asked to hold your breath for 10 to 25 seconds at a time.

  • When the procedure is done, the catheter is removed. Pressure is put on the insertion site for 15 minutes to stop bleeding.

After the Procedure

  • You may be told to lie flat and keep the leg with the insertion site straight for 6┬áhours to prevent bleeding.

  • You may stay in the hospital overnight. If you don't stay in the hospital, you should have a friend or family member drive you home.

  • Drink plenty of fluids to help flush the contrast medium from your system.

  • Once you go home, care for the insertion site as directed.

Potential Risks and Complications

  • Bruising at the insertion site

  • Problems due to contrast medium, including allergic reaction or kidney damage

  • Damage to the artery