What is an aortogram?
Question: My husband is scheduled to have an aortogram at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix. Can you tell me more about this? Will they do a transradial entry?
Answer: An aortogram is a form of imaging in which contrast is injected into the arteries and a fluroscopic X-rays are taken to visualize the aorta and arteries that run "downstream" or towards the feet. There are really two parts of the aorta that are imaged – that is the thoracic (chest) aorta and abdominal (belly) aorta.
Since it sounds like your procedure is being scheduled, your husband is likely undergoing an abdominal aortogram. Thoracic aortograms are uncommon, now replaced by CT or MRI and usually done in acute aortic dissection and traumatic laceration.
To gain access to the arteries, a transfemoral (or through the common femoral artery) approach is usually done.
Transradial access means going through a radial artery, one of which is in each arm. This is the same artery that most people reach for when trying to feel a pulse in the wrist. This is a relatively new method that has started to be employed to minimize some of the post-treatment complications that are seen with a transfemoral approach. However, this access method has been used to access the coronary arteries of the heart, not to do an aortogram; especially an abdominal aortogram which is far away from the radial artery.
If the abdominal aortogram is being done to better evaluate the arterial blockage as you described, it will be done using a transfemoral approach.