Pulmonary Angiography

Posted October 2, 2022 by Anusha ‐ 3 min read

Pulmonary angiography is an X-ray procedure that looks at the blood vessels leading to and from your lungs. The X-rays produced are called pulmonary angiograms, which may show blood clots in and around your lungs called pulmonary embolisms.

Uses of Pulmonary Angiography

Your doctor may order the procedure if you’re showing common symptoms of a blood clot, including:

  • Chest pain

  • High blood pressure specific to areas around the lungs and heart

  • A history of other blood clots or deep vein thrombosis

Pulmonary angiography can help identify several other conditions in the lung region, including:

  • Aneurysms, when there are bulges in your blood vessels

  • Abnormal connections between your blood vessels, such as between arteries and veins

  • Birth conditions that affected the development of your blood vessels

  • Stenosis, when the openings in your blood vessels have narrowed

  • Pulmonary angiography can also monitor blood flow into the lungs.

Procedure of Pulmonary Angiography

Before the pulmonary angiography, be sure to tell your doctor if:

  • You’re pregnant

  • Have any known allergies

  • Have a history of allergic reactions

  • Your doctor will have specific instructions about whether or not you need to stop eating or drinking for a few hours before the procedure.

  • Your doctor may also order a blood test to check the amount of time your blood takes to clot.

The procedure follows these steps:

  • You may need to put on a hospital gown, so wear loose, comfortable clothing.

  • You’ll need to remove all metal objects, including jewelry.

  • A thin, intravenous (IV) line is inserted into your arm, and devices to monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing are attached to your chest.

  • This is so your doctors can track these vital signs throughout the procedure.

  • You lie on your back, and a catheter a flexible tube is inserted into either your arm or groin.

  • It is moved through your vein to the right side of your heart.

  • A contrast dye is inserted into your veins with the IV.

  • X-ray pictures are taken until there are enough high-quality images.

  • This could involve a second round of dye injection and X-ray imaging.

  • The catheter and IV are removed and the openings covered.

  • You’ll need to recover by lying flat for up to two hours while your doctors monitor your vital signs.

  • This can be an outpatient surgery for some people, so you’ll be able to leave later on the same day.

  • Sometimes, though, your doctor will want to keep you overnight for observation.‌

Risks of Pulmonary Angiography

There are few risks associated with pulmonary angiography. They include:

  • Radiation exposure. All X-rays expose your tissues to radiation, which increases your risk of developing cancer later in your life.

  • Allergic reactions to the dye.

  • Infection. You run a risk of infection at the sites of all of the surgical openings.

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