Pulmonary angiography helps diagnose pulmonary embolism and other lung problems
A pulmonary angiogram is an image of the blood vessels of the lungs. Pulmonary angiography refers to a diagnostic testing procedure used to examine how well blood flows through the lungs. It is often used to detect pulmonary embolism and may also be used to diagnose pulmonary artery aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations, and pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs). A doctor may also order a pulmonary angiogram to:
- Examine blood flow to and from lungs before or after surgery
- Send medicine to the lungs to treat disease, such as cancer
- Identify congenital (since birth) heart and blood vessel problems
Pulmonary angiography involves use of X-ray technology to take pictures of the blood vessels of the lungs. Injection of a contrast dye into the blood vessels helps illuminate clots and other abnormalities.
Preparing for pulmonary angiogram
To prepare for a pulmonary angiogram you may be asked to not eat or drink anything for six to eight hours beforehand. For the procedure itself, you will wear a hospital gown and lie down on an X-ray table. The provider will place electrodes (sticky pads) on your chest to monitor heart rate, blood pressure and breathing. An intravenous (IV) line will be introduced through your hand or arm. A catheter (thin tube) will be inserted through your groin and guided up to the lungs. The contrast dye is then injected through the IV line. Once the dye reaches the lungs, the provider will then take X-ray images of the vessels.
After a pulmonary angiogram, you will be kept under observation in a recovery room to make sure your heart rate, blood pressure and breathing are stable, and to ensure there’s no unusual bleeding from the points of insertion. You will need to have someone drive you home and it’s a good idea to avoid strenuous physical activity for the next few days. You can continue to eat and drink as usual. Be sure to drink a lot of water to flush the contrast dye out of your system.
Your doctor will review your results with you and discuss any additional testing or treatment options.