What Is a Renal Arteriography?
Renal arteriography, also known as
renal angiography, gives your doctors a way to see the blood vessels in your
Your blood vessels don’t show up on an
X-ray. This can make it difficult for your doctors to get an accurate image of
them. In an arteriography, doctors inject a
special kind of dye into your blood vessels. This dye, also called contrast
material, shows up on the X-ray.
This procedure allows doctors to see
your veins. They will be able to see blockages, clots, narrowing, and other
Arteriographies can be done on many
parts of the body. The term “renal” refers to your kidneys, so a renal
arteriography is one that highlights your kidney’s blood vessels.
When Is a Renal Arteriography Used?
Your doctor will typically perform
this procedure if you have problems with the blood vessels in your kidneys.
Possible problems include:
- blood clots
- abnormal structural issues
- spasms in the vessels
- high blood pressure in the vessels
- widened blood vessels
If you have kidney disease or kidney
failure, your doctor may perform this procedure to help monitor your condition.
They may also use this test to assess the extent of these conditions.
How Should I Prepare for a Renal
In general, your doctor will ask you
not to eat or drink anything for roughly eight hours before your renal
arteriography. Your doctor’s exact instructions may vary. In some cases, you
may need to begin your fast as early as the night before your procedure.
Tell your doctor about any medications
you are currently taking. This includes herbal preparations and
over-the-counter medicines. Even some medicines that seem harmless can affect
the procedure or your body’s reaction to the dye. Aspirin, for example, can
affect your blood’s ability to clot. Your doctor may tell you to temporarily
stop taking some or all of your medications before the procedure.
You should also tell your doctor if
you have allergies to:
- any medications
- iodine substances
- any anesthetics
- contrast dye
Make sure you let your doctor know if
you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. The low levels of radiation involved in this
procedure aren’t usually considered harmful. Still, your doctor might decide
that it is too risky for a developing fetus or for mother’s milk.
How Is a Renal Arteriography Performed?
When you arrive for the procedure,
you’ll need to sign a consent form and change into a hospital gown. Your doctor
will also ask you to remove any jewelry.
In most cases, you’ll receive a
sedative before the procedure. This sedative will help you relax but won't make
you completely unconscious.
Your doctor will then insert a narrow
tube, called a catheter, into your artery. They’ll inject the dye through this
Before injecting the dye, your doctor
has to get the catheter into the right position. They do this by carefully
guiding it through your blood vessels until it reaches your aorta.
When the catheter is in position, the
dye is injected. Your doctor will take multiple X-rays as the dye travels
through your blood vessels. The dye makes the vessels appear on the X-ray so
that your doctor to see if there are blockages.
In some cases, your doctor may choose
to treat a problem during the procedure. For example, if they find a clot or
tumor, they may inject medication on the spot to help treat it.
Once the doctor is finished, the
catheter will be removed.
What Are the Risks of a Renal Arteriography?
This is a fairly safe procedure.
Serious complications are rare. There’s a possibility that you’ll experience an
allergic reaction to the contrast material used in this procedure, but they’re
There’s small chance you’ll have other
complications such as:
- blood clots
- nerve injury
- damage to an artery
Most doctors believe that the
radiation levels involved in the test are safe. The radiation may be more of a
risk for a developing fetus. Make sure to tell your doctor if you’re pregnant.
What Happens After a Renal Arteriography?
After your renal arteriography, you’ll
need some time to recover. You shouldn't drive for 24 hours, so you should
arrange for someone to pick you up after the procedure. Avoid exercise or heavy
lifting for about a week. Your doctor may give you additional instructions.