Renal Angiography & Renal Angioplasty
A Renal Angiogram is an x-ray study of the blood vessels leading to the kidneys and is done to assess the blood flow to the kidneys. X-rays (cine films) are taken as contrast dye is injected into a catheter (a tiny plastic tube) that has been placed into the blood vessels of the kidneys. The specialist then assesses the cine for any narrowings or other abnormalities affecting the blood supply to the kidneys. If a narrowing is found, the doctor may treat the affected area with a vascular balloon (PTA or percutaneous transluminal angioplasty) or even place a stent in the affected area.
If any narrowing of the arteries or other abnormalities affecting the blood supply to the kidneys are found during your renal angiogram, your specialist will proceed to treat the narrowing by passing a balloon catheter along the wire to the diseased area through a tiny incision in your groin. Once in position, the balloon is inflated and the narrowing is gradually widened. This procedure is called angioplasty.
In some cases the artery is successfully stretched open, but the narrowed portion of the artery can recoil as the balloon is deflated. If the dilation of the artery is not entirely satisfactory, your specialist may place a stent at the point of the persistent narrowing. A stent is a mesh tube made of a special metal alloy. On insertion, it is tightly squashed down on a balloon. Once positioned at the point of narrowing, the stent is opened up to a predetermined width and holds the kidney artery open.