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What is a leg arteriogram?

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Quick Answer

A leg arteriogram is a procedure to locate blockages in the arteries of the legs. A doctor inserts a catheter into the artery in the groin, injects dye into the artery and uses a moving X-ray to find the blockage. The terms arteriogram, angiography and angiogram are synonymous terms for this procedure, according to John Muir Health.

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The arteriogram is a diagnostic procedure, but it may lead to a corrective procedure. If the doctor finds a blockage in the leg he has the option of using a balloon or inserting a splint to open the artery at the same time he performs the arteriogram. He may also recommend surgery to bypass or replace the blocked artery after reviewing the initial test results, reports John Muir Health.

Patients who experience pain in the legs when walking may have a blocked artery. Fatty tissue sometimes builds up in arteries, including those of the legs, and slows or blocks the flow of blood to the leg, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Prior to the procedure, the patient receives a sedative to help him relax, but he remains awake to follow the doctor’s directions. Opening the blockage reduces the pain and the chance of developing a blood clot in the leg.

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