Angiography and angioplasty are interventional radiology procedures that are used by your child’s healthcare team to diagnose and treat heart and vascular conditions. Cardiac catheterization techniques like angiography and angioplasty allow doctors to go inside the body and clearly see blockages or damage to the arteries and veins.
Interventional radiology procedures are minimally invasive and use only one tiny incision, reducing the risks of the procedure. During an angiography procedure, an interventional radiologist uses live imaging to guide a catheter (small tube) through an artery or a vein to view the blocked or damaged area.
In some cases, the interventional radiologist can fix the blockage and no further treatment is needed. Usually this is done with a procedure known as angioplasty. During this procedure, a tiny balloon is inserted into the artery or vein to open up the blockage.
Angiography and angioplasty include the following steps:
If your child needs additional treatment for the blocked blood vessel, this will be done right after the interventional radiology procedure. Your child may need to stay overnight. If there is pain from the procedure, he or she may receive pain medicine.
Like all procedures, angiography has some risks. Sometimes a child has bleeding or swelling where the interventional radiologist inserted the catheter. Rarely, an infection can occur, or your child may have an allergic reaction to the dye used during the procedure. It is also possible for the catheter to damage the blood vessel while it is being placed. If this occurs, the interventional radiologist can quickly stop the bleeding using a special liquid or metal coil.
Bring questions with you when you come to your child’s appointment. The interventional radiologist will be happy to answer questions and help you feel comfortable with the care your child is receiving.