Angiocardiography is a technique for radiographic examination of the heart chambers and thoracic veins and arteries. A liquid radiocontrast agent, typically containing iodine, is injected into the bloodstream, then the tissues are examined using X-rays. To avoid dilution, the radiopaque material is typically introduced with a catheter, a process known as selective angiocardiography. The X-ray image is normally captured on high speed serial media that allows the motion to be observed, such as 35mm film. The process requires fasting before the test, with a sedative and an antihistamine being administered before the test.
A catheter is introduced in to the artery in either radial artery or in femoral artery then the caterter is guided in to the heart chamber by moving it across the artery. A contrast medium is then introduced to the specific part through the catheter and during which a series of images are produced.
Angiocardiography can be used to detect and diagnose congenital defects in the heart and adjacent vessels. The use of angiocardiography has declined with the introduction of echocardiography. However, angiocardiography is still in use for selected cases as it provides a higher level of anatomical detail than echocardiography.