Renal Angiography

An angiogram, also called an arteriogram, is an X-ray image of the blood vessels. It is performed to evaluate various vascular conditions, such as an aneurysm (ballooning of a blood vessel), stenosis (narrowing of a blood vessel), or blockages.

Renal angiography is an angiogram of the blood vessels of the kidneys. A renal angiogram may be used to assess the blood flow to the kidneys.

Fluoroscopy is often used during a renal arteriogram. Fluoroscopy is the study of moving body structures similar to an X-ray “movie.” A continuous X-ray beam is passed through the body part being examined, and is transmitted to a TV-like monitor so that the body part and its motion can be seen in detail.

How is an angiogram performed?

In order to obtain an X-ray image of a blood vessel, an intravenous (IV) or intra-arterial (IA) access is necessary so that contrast, also known as X-ray dye, can be injected into the body’s circulatory system. This contrast dye causes the blood vessels to appear opaque on the X-ray image, thus allowing the physician to better visualize the structure of the vessel(s) under examination.

Many arteries can be examined by an angiogram, including the arterial systems of the legs, kidneys, brain, and heart.

For a renal angiogram, arterial access may be obtained through a large artery such as the femoral artery in the groin. Once access is obtained, the catheter is advanced to the renal artery, contrast is injected, and a series of X-ray pictures is made. These X-ray images show the arterial, venous, and capillary blood vessel structures and blood flow in the kidneys.