Lower Extremity Angiogram

A lower extremity angiogram, also known as a peripheral angiogram, is a minimally invasive test that uses X-rays and dye to examine the arteries in the legs or feet. 

When is the procedure recommended?

  • Most often, this procedure is used to diagnose a common condition among older adults called peripheral artery disease (PAD). PAD is caused by hardening of the arteries in the pelvis or legs. 
  • Lower extremity angiography is performed if there is suspicion that blood is not flowing well to the arteries with in the legs. Complete loss of blood flow to the legs can lead to tissue death (gangrene) and amputation.

How is the procedure performed?

Under imaging guidance the interventional radiologist inserts a hollow needle into an artery within the groin he groin, foot, ankle, or possibly the arm. A second smaller catheter is passed through the first catheter and into the artery. A small amount of contrast material is injected into the catheter. X-ray images will be obtained as the contrast flows through the leg arteries. The narrowed or blocked area may be treated during the procedure with an angioplasty (small balloon) or stent.

What are the benefits?

Some benefits of a lower extremity angiogram include:

  • Pain relief: The procedure can help patients walk with less pain
  • Healing ulcers and gangrene: The procedure can help heal ulcers and gangrene in the foot
  • Avoid amputation: The procedure can help patients avoid the need for a leg amputation

 

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