Diagnostic procedure for PVD detects plaque buildup in arteries
Your doctor may recommend peripheral vascular angiography if you have symptoms of peripheral vascular disease (PVD), also known as peripheral artery disease, such as pain or cramping in the stomach, arms or legs. Peripheral vascular angiography is a diagnostic test that involves injecting a contrast dye through a catheter (thin tube) into the peripheral arteries that run to the stomach, arms and legs. The radiologist then uses X-rays to pick up the areas where the contrast dye shows plaque buildup in the arteries.
How peripheral vascular angiography is performed
The procedure is performed while you’re lying down on an X-ray table. You will have local anesthesia (numbing of the area) where the catheter goes in, which is usually the groin area. Before the procedure, you’ll be asked to not eat or drink anything after midnight, and you will receive additional guidance about when to take any medications, particularly blood thinners.
Peripheral vascular angiography is not painful but you may experience discomfort at the site where the catheter goes in. You may also be asked to hold your breath or hold still, which may be uncomfortable for you. The entire process takes about 30 to 40 minutes.
Recovery from peripheral vascular angiography
After your procedure you’ll be asked to drink a lot of fluid to rehydrate yourself. You should also avoid driving for 24 hours.
For the first few days afterward, you may notice some bruising and tenderness where the catheter went in. Be sure to call your doctor right away if you experience unusual cold, numbness or tingling in your feet, see any increased bruising, or have swelling or fluid retention.
Once your doctor has reviewed the results of your procedure, he or she will go over the results with you and discuss next steps based on your current health condition, age, medical history and other factors.