A renal arteriogram is a diagnostic test that uses X-ray imaging to evaluate blood vessels in the kidneys. During the procedure, a contrast dye is injected through a catheter placed in the groin area; the dye helps to provide a clear picture of the blood vessels. The procedure requires some recovery time, but is usually performed on an outpatient basis.
A renal arteriogram is used to determine if high blood pressure is being caused by a kidney problem, and/or to assess the condition of an artery that may be closed or inflamed.
The Renal Arteriogram Procedure
When the procedure begins, an intravenous tube (IV) is placed in the patient's hand or arm; a sedative may also be given to assist with relaxation. The patient then lies on an X-ray table. After applying a local anesthetic, the doctor uses a needle to guide the catheter inside the groin. The contrast dye is then injected through the catheter. The patient may experience a mild burning sensation from the contrast dye, but it should pass within a few seconds.
The patient is advised to lie completely still as the X-ray machine revolves around the table, capturing images from many different angles. The patient must hold her or his breath for approximately 10 seconds as each X-ray is taken.
Recovery from a Renal Arteriogram
After the renal arteriogram is complete, the patient is moved to a recovery area, where the catheter is removed. The patient stays in the recovery room for a few hours so vital signs can be monitored. Upon returning home, driving should be avoided for 24 hours, and strenuous activity for a week.