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What is an CT Renal Angiogram Scan?
A CT renal angiogram is a diagnostic test that uses special x-ray equipment and computer processing techniques to create detailed images of the arteries that supply blood to the kidneys. The test is performed by injecting a contrast material into an artery, usually in the arm, and then taking x-ray images as the contrast material flows through the arteries to the kidneys. The images are then examined for any abnormalities, such as blockages or narrowed areas. CT renal angiograms are generally used to evaluate symptoms such as hypertension or kidney pain, or to determine the cause of unexplained kidney injury or kidney failure. The procedure is typically safe and well tolerated, with few side effects other than temporary discomfort from the injection of the contrast material.
When & Why CT Renal Angiogram is Prescribed?
If your doctor suspects a blockage or narrowing of the arteries supplying blood to your kidneys, he or she may prescribe a CT renal angiogram for further evaluation. This test can help determine if there is any underlying condition causing the blockage or narrowing, such as atherosclerosis, fibromuscular dysplasia (FMD), or an aneurysm. It can also help to diagnose the presence of kidney stones, tumors, cysts, or other masses in the area.
A CT renal angiogram may also be recommended if your doctor is evaluating high blood pressure (hypertension) that is resistant to treatment with medication. The test may help determine if a narrowed artery is causing the increased pressure, or if an underlying condition such as FMD is present. Alternatively, it may be recommended if you have unexplained pain in your abdomen or flank area (the side of your torso between the lower ribs and hips).
In any case, a CT renal angiogram will help your doctor better understand the cause of your symptoms and make an appropriate diagnosis. The test is relatively quick, takes about 30 minutes to complete.