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Specialties that treat this condition

Renal Angiography

Renal angiography is a procedure done to study the blood vessels in the kidneys. The procedure is done through a thin, flexible tube (catheter). The catheter is put into a blood vessel through a small cut (incision). X-ray dye (contrast medium) 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.

Kidneys and renal arteries.

Before the procedure

Follow any instructions you are given on how to get ready. This includes:

  • Follow any directions you’re given for not eating or drinking before the procedure.

  • Tell the technologist what medicines, herbs, or supplements you take. Also tell the technologist if you are or may be pregnant, or if you are allergic to contrast medium or other medicines.

During the procedure

  • You'll change into a hospital gown and lie on an X-ray table. An IV (intravenous) line is put into a vein. This is to give you fluids and medicines. You may be given medicine through the IV to help you relax.

  • Medicine will be put on the skin at the insertion site (usually the groin) to numb it. Then a needle with a thin guide wire is put 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. The radiologist will use X-ray images as a guide. He or she 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 place. You may be asked to hold your breath for 10 to 25 seconds at a time.

  • When the procedure is done, the catheter is taken out. Pressure is put on the insertion site for 15 minutes to stop bleeding.

After the procedure

  • You may be told to lie flat and keep the leg with the insertion site straight for 6 hours to stop bleeding.

  • You may stay in the hospital overnight. If you don't stay in the hospital, you should have a friend or family member drive you home.

  • Drink plenty of fluids to help flush the contrast medium from your system.

  • Once you go home, care for the insertion site as directed.

Possible risks and complications

  • Bruising at the insertion site

  • Problems because of contrast medium. These include allergic reaction or kidney damage.

  • Damage to the artery


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