Arteriography is an X-ray exam of the arteries to diagnose blockages and other blood vessel problems. An interventional radiologist performs this procedure. During an arteriogram, the doctor inserts a thin tube, or catheter, into the artery through a small nick in the skin about the size of the tip of a pencil. A substance called a contrast agent (dye) is injected to make the arteries visible on X-rays.
One of the most common reasons for an arteriogram is to see if there is a blockage or narrowing in a blood vessel that may interfere with the normal flow of blood through the body. In many cases, the interventional radiologist can treat a blocked artery without surgery at the same time that the arteriogram is performed. Interventional radiologists treat blockages with techniques called angioplasty and thrombolysis.