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Renal angiography is a procedure done to study the blood vessels in the kidneys. The procedure is done through a catheter (thin, flexible tube) placed into a blood vessel through a small incision. Contrast medium (x-ray dye) is injected to make the blood vessels stand out on x-ray images. X-rays are then taken. The procedure is often done by a specially trained doctor called an interventional radiologist.
Follow any instructions you are given on how to prepare, including:
Do not eat or drink anything for 6 hours before the procedure.
Tell the technologist what medications, herbs, or supplements you take; if you are, or may be, pregnant; or if you are allergic to contrast medium, or other medications.
You'll change into a hospital gown and lie on an x-ray table. An IV (intravenous) line is put into a vein to give you fluids and medications. You may be given medication through the IV to help you relax.
The skin at the insertion site (usually at the groin) is numbed with local anesthetic. Then, a needle with a thin guide wire is inserted through the skin into the blood vessel. The catheter is placed over the guide wire into the blood vessel.
Contrast medium is injected into the blood vessel. Using x-ray images as a guide, the radiologist moves the catheter through the blood vessels to the kidney.
More contrast medium is injected into the blood vessels that supply the kidneys.
Remain still while the x-rays are being taken. Pillows and foam pads may help you stay in position. You may be asked to hold your breath for 10 to 25 seconds at a time.
When the procedure is done, the catheter is removed. Pressure is put on the insertion site for 15 minutes to stop bleeding.
You may be told to lie flat and keep the leg with the insertion site straight for 6 hours to prevent bleeding.
You may stay in the hospital overnight.
Drink plenty of fluids to help flush the contrast medium from your system.
Once you go home, care for the insertion site as directed.
Bruising at the insertion site
Problems due to contrast medium, including allergic reaction or kidney damage
Damage to the artery