Angiography and angioplasty are diagnostic and treatment procedures for the heart. They are different medical procedures related to blood vessels. In case of a blockage in the blood vessels, a doctor may recommend these procedures to diagnose the exact location and treat it to avoid major surgery. In this article, we will discuss angiography and angioplasty and the difference between the two.
What is angiography?
Angiography is a medical imaging technique that produces scanned images of blood vessels. These scanned images are angiograms. Blood vessels do not show up in the regular imaging techniques. So, in angiography, the doctor injects a dye before starting the procedure. They do this to highlight the blood vessels in the angiogram.
What is angioplasty?
Angioplasty is a non-surgical procedure to open narrow or clogged arteries. Angioplasty can be performed immediately after angiography. Once finding the exact location of the blockage is through the angiogram, the doctor decides whether to conduct an angioplasty procedure. This process begins by inserting a thin flexible tube called a catheter into a narrowed or blocked blood vessel. The doctor then inserts a balloon through the catheter once it is in place. As the balloon reaches the correct location, the doctor inflates it to widen the area. In addition to this, it is possible that the affected area in the blood vessel might block again. In such a scenario, the doctor can put a stent to reduce the chance of blockages and the risk of surgery.
Is angioplasty necessary after angiography?
Not exactly. Angiography produces scanned images called angiogram which shows the exact location of the blockage. Angioplasty is done when the blockage is in a small area and can be treated with a non-surgical procedure. Doctors conduct other treatment procedures like bypass or open-heart surgery when the blockage is in a larger area, which is not treatable non-surgically.
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