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Diseases reference index «Mesenteric arteriography»

Mesenteric arteriography is an x-ray exam of the blood vessels that supply the abdominal area, including the small and large intestines.

How the Test is Performed

This test uses x-rays and a special dye (contrast material) to make blood vessels show up on the images.

This test is done in a hospital. You will lie on an x-ray table. You may ask for a sedative if you are anxious about the test.

The health care provider will shave and clean the groin area. A numbing medicine (anesthetic) is applied, and a needle inserted into an artery. A thin flexible tube called a catheter is passed through the needle, into the artery, and up through the main vessels of the belly area and chest until it is properly placed into a mesenteric artery. The doctor can see live images of the area on a TV-like monitor, and uses them as a guide.

Contrast dye flows through the catheter into the blood vessels. X-ray images are taken. The catheter is occasionally flushed with saline solution containing a drug called heparin to help keep blood in the tube from clotting.

Your pulse, blood pressure, and breathing are monitored during the procedure. After the x-rays are taken, the needle and catheter are withdrawn.

Pressure is immediately applied to the puncture site for 10-15 minutes to stop the bleeding. After that time the area is checked and a tight bandage is applied. The leg should be kept straight for an additional 4 hours after the procedure.

How to Prepare for the Test

You should not eat or drink anything for 8 hours before the test.

You will be asked to wear a hospital gown and sign a consent form for the procedure. Jewlery should be removed from the area being imaged.

Tell your health care provider:

  • If you are pregnant
  • If you have ever had any allergic reactions to x-ray contrast material or iodine substances
  • If you are allergic to any medications
  • Which medications you are taking (including any herbal preparations)
  • If you have ever had any bleeding problems

How the Test Will Feel

The x-ray table is hard and cold, but you may ask for a blanket or pillow. You may feel a brief sting when the numbing medication (anesthetic) is given. You will feel a brief sharp pain as the catheter is inserted into the artery, and some pressure as it is moved into place.

As the dye is injected, you will feel a warm, flushing sensation. You may have tenderness and bruising at the site of the injection after the test.

Why the Test is Performed

This test is done:

  • When endoscopy cannot locate the source of bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract
  • When other studies fail to provide enough information about abnormal growths along the intestinal tract
  • To possibly look at blood vessel damage after an abdominal injury

A mesenteric arteriogram may be performed after more sensitive nuclear medicine scans have identified active bleeding. The radiologist can then pinpoint and treat the source. See: Endovascular embolization.

Normal Results

Results are considered normal if the arteries being examined are normal in appearance.

What Abnormal Results Mean

Abnormal results may be due to

  • Angiodysplasia of the colon
  • Bleeding in the upper or lower gastrointestinal track
  • Blood vessel rupture from injury
  • Cirrhosis
  • Growth of abnormal cells

Risks

There is some risk of the catheter damaging the artery or knocking loose a piece of the artery wall, which can reduce or block blood flow and lead to tissue death. This is a rare complication.

Other risks include:

  • Bleeding
  • Blood clot
  • Infection
  • Reaction to the contrast dye

Alternative Names

Abdominal arteriogram; Arteriogram - abdomen

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