Angiography is a method that has gained immense popularity over the recent years. Let us find out more about this medical advancement.
When blockages occur in the arteries of our heart, the blood flow decreases and this can starve the heart of vital oxygen and lead to stroke or even death in worse cases. Early detection of a heart disease is extremely important, and hence a number of testing methods are used for this purpose.
What is angiography?
Angiography is a specialized test which is used to examine the state and functioning of the arteries in our heart. The arteries are the important blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood from the heart to the various parts of the body. When a person suffers from a chest pain, which is also known as angina, it becomes necessary to get an angiography done. Angiographies are done in order to study the biology of blood vessels like the arteries and the veins. In short, it is the inspection of the condition inside the 'tubular structures' in the body.
How is Angiography done?
The process of angiography involves a fluorescent dye and an x-ray examination. Basically, in this procedure the x-rays of the chest are taken. But soft tissues or the 'inside' area of arteries are not clear in a regular x-ray and hence the help of a fluorescent dye or the contrast agent is taken.
The dye or constrast is a fluorescein sodium is a highly fluorescent chemical compound that absorbs blue light with fluorescence. It is commonly referred as fluorescein, or fluorescein sodium, the sodium salt of fluorescein.
A radio opaque material is first inserted in the blood stream with the help of a device called as the catheter which is a thin, narrow, tube-like structure.
Once the dye has entered the blood vessels, the x-ray machine will capture visual descriptions called fluoroscopy. In case of any blockage in the heart, the dye will not reach and the doctor will understand that there is a blockage present in the heart.
History of angiography
This technique was first developed in the year 1927 by a Portuguese physician and neurologist Egas Moniz. He came up with this technique to provide contrasted x-ray cerebral angiography which will help in diagnosing several kinds of nervous diseases, such as tumours, artery disease and arteriovenous malformations.
He is recognized as one of the pioneers in this field. Moniz performed the first cerebral angiogram in Lisbon in 1927, and Reynaldo Cid dos Santos performed the first aortogram in the same city in 1929. The Seldinger technique or the insertion of radio opaque material was introduced in 1953. The technique is named after Dr. Sven-Ivar Seldinger, a Swedish radiologist who introduced the procedure in 1953.
This technique made angiography a safe method as no sharp introductory devices needed to remain inside the body.
Till date, different types of angiography are used to determine different ailments. Angiography has become a widely used technique and is considered as a boon to the medical industry.