Angiocardiography is contrast radiography of the heart and great vessels. 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. Normally, rather than just a single image, hundreds of X-ray images are rapidly captured on high-speed serial media, such as 35 mm film or a digital imaging counterpart, thus allowing the motion to be observed. 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 catheter 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.
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