If you have peripheral vascular disease—problems with arteries or veins beyond the heart and brain—your doctor may suggest an aortogram to get a better view of your aorta, the main artery that takes oxygenated blood from your heart to the lower body.
During aortography, performed in a hospital, you’ll be mildly sedated while your doctor threads a catheter from your groin or arm into the aorta. The doctor then injects a special dye into the catheter, while X-rays take images to see how the dye moves through the aorta.
An aortogram may reveal possible problems such as:
- Adult congenital heart disease
- Abdominal aneurysm
- Aortic dissection (tear)
- Aortic valve stenosis (narrowed aortic valve opening)
- Inflammation of the aorta, such as Takayasu arteritis
- Narrowed or blocked arteries near the aorta
- Renal artery stenosis (narrowed arteries to the kidneys)
Your doctor may also advise a cardiac CT or MRI to gain further insight into your aorta’s condition.