Diagnostic Testing & Imaging
What is peripheral angiogram?
A peripheral angiogram is a technique used to get information about the arteries in your legs. Like a cardiac catheterization, your blood vessels are accessed through minimally invasive techniques, and the arteries in your legs are scanned by either specialized x-ray or MRI to give information about the paths of the different arteries and to highlight any narrowing in the arteries that may be causing problems.
How is a peripheral angiogram performed?
A peripheral angiogram procedure is started by accessing an artery in your leg, usually in your groin. While you will be awake for the procedure, local anesthetic will be used at the access location, so a fast needle poke and burning sensation are the only pains you should expect, and these will be temporary.
Your doctor will thread a catheter into your artery using a combination of needle and guidewire. Once the catheter is in the right position, your doctor will inject a marker to highlight your arteries. This process will likely be repeated multiple times to ensure your doctor gets all the necessary information. After the angiogram, you may be asked to stay flat on your back for a few hours to observe for bleeding at the access site, but afterward, you will be able to go home.
What is a peripheral angiogram used for?
A peripheral angiogram is used to evaluate, diagnose, and (if appropriate) treat peripheral artery disease. The main benefit of a peripheral angiogram is getting a large amount of detail about the structure of the arteries in your leg and to see how blood is able to flow through these arteries. Because a peripheral angiogram can give real-time information at specific focal points, it is well suited for the job.
 Pollak AW, Norton PT, Kramer CM. Multimodality imaging of lower extremity peripheral arterial disease: current role and future directions. Circ Cardiovasc Imaging. 2012;5(6):797-807.