If you have been told you require a lower extremity angiography, here is some valuable information that you should know. A lower extremity angiography is a diagnostic test whereby X-rays in addition to contrast dye are used to allow doctors to better visualize the arteries that are responsible for carrying blood to the lower extremities (legs).

The Procedure

A small catheter is inserted into the femoral artery in the leg prior to injecting the contrast dye. Doctors then use a type X-ray to view images of the legs on a video screen. Narrowed or blocked arteries in the legs can often cause intermittent claudication or pain in the legs with walking.

A lower extremity angiography may be needed when doctors have a suspicion that blockages are causing poor circulation in the legs. This type of condition is often related to P.A.D. or peripheral arterial disease, which is caused by “hardening of the arteries” in multiple areas of the body, including the pelvis or legs.

It is imperative that the diagnosis and subsequent treatment of PAD be made sooner rather than later, to avoid partial or complete loss of blood flow to the lower extremities, as this can lead to serious conditions that, in some cases could require amputation.

What to Expect

During a lower extremity angiogram patients are made comfortable prior to local anesthetic being administered, as well as IV sedatives to help with relaxation.

If blockages are found, typically, doctors can insert a small balloon or stent to unblock the artery thus improving blood flow in the affected area.

Generally these procedures can be performed in about an hour, and patients can rest comfortably for an additional few hours prior to returning home.

Unlike some other facilities, at ACI | CCRE our team of doctors, nurses and support staff are highly specialized and work with each patient on an individualized basis to help ensure that patients can return home just hours after their procedure. No overnight hospital stay is required.