Angiography is the study of vessels within the human body after the injection of contrast medium. Contrast medium is a type of dye that is used to highlight internal organs such as intestines or in this case blood vessels. Fig-2 demonstrates the abdominal aorta being highlighted with contrast. This particular procedure is very common in an angiographic procedure. Angiography consists of a variety of procedures both diagnostic and therapeutic. This means that several procedures are performed to diagnose a patient and other procedures are performed to treat a patient condition. Angiography requires more than just an x-ray technologist to complete procedures. A radiologist (physician who interprets radiographs to diagnose a patient) and one or two nurses would usually accompany the x-ray technologist during the procedure.
The room set up is similar to that of an operating room, with a C-arm congifuration, floating table top, ceiling mounted monitors, etc. (fig-1) . There is a sterile setup and the performing physician and the assistant are required to be sterile. This is to help prevent infections during the procedures.
X-ray technologist perform several duties before, during and after procedures. They are responsible for the paper work such as the requistion and the accompanying patient identification number. It is also the job of the x-ray technologist to properly insert the correct patient data into the computer before the procedure. During the procedure, x-ray technologists are required to maneuver x-ray equipment in order to follow the flow of contrast through the blood vessels. After the completion of the procedure, an x-ray technologist is required to select and submit several images from the procedure for the performing radiologist to study and give a proper diagnosis. X-ray technologists are also in charge of protecting patients and personnel. It is the job of an x-ray technologist to make sure everyone in the room during the procedure is wearing the proper lead shielding (i.e lead apron). It is important for an x-ray technologist to pay close attention during angiographic procedures because they must obey the commands of the physician, which are sometimes difficult to hear because of other conversations going on in the room.
Bontrager, K.L. & Lampignano, J.P. (2005). Radiographic Positioning and Related Anatomy. Elesvier Mosby, 6th Ed.
Torres, L.S., Watson-Norcutt, T.L., & Dutton, A.G. (2003). Basic Medical Techniques and Patient Care in Imaging Technology. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 6th Ed.