What is Venography?
A venogram is an x-ray exam that injects contrast material into a vein to show how blood is flowing through the veins. This will allow the doctor to determine the condition of your veins.
Radiography (radiography) is an unplanned medical test that helps doctors diagnose and treat medical conditions. X-ray images produce images of the inside of the body by exposing a part of the body to a small dose of ionizing radiation. X-rays are the oldest and most widely used form of medical imaging.
Who needs venography?
Your doctor may order a venogram if you have:
- Suspected deep vein thrombosis or blood clots
- You want to evaluate venous problems from birth
- The vein needs to be found for bypass graft surgery
- You need to find the cause of your leg pain
- It is necessary to identify where the blood clot started
You are not a candidate for this procedure if you are allergic to color ingredients or iodine or if you are pregnant.
If you have diabetes, asthma, or kidney problems, tell your doctor so she can determine if you are a candidate for the procedure.
Types of venography
A venogram is generally used to visualize veins in the legs or abdomen, but it can also be used in any area of the body. Your doctor will choose the type of venography that is best for you, based on the cause of your test. Types of venography include:
- Ascending venography: Ascending venography allows your doctor to see deep vein thrombosis or blood clots in your legs.
- Descending venography: Descending venography allows your doctor to measure the function of the valves in the deep veins.
- Upper extremity venography: Upper extremity venography allows your doctor to look for blockages, blood clots, or vascular abnormalities in the veins in your neck and arms.
- Venacavography: Venacavography allows your doctor to assess the function of your inferior vena cava, which brings blood to your heart
Preparation for a venography
- Your healthcare provider will explain the policy to you. Ask him if he has any questions about the policy.
- You may be asked to sign a consent form authorizing the process. Read the form carefully and ask questions if you don’t know anything clearly.
- Tell your healthcare provider if you ever react to the contrast matrix. Tell your provider if you have an allergy to iodine.
- Tell your provider if you are sensitive or allergic to any medications, latex, tape, or narcotics (local and general).
- You may be asked to refrain from eating and drinking for at least 4 hours before the test.
- Tell your provider if you are pregnant or assume you are pregnant.
- Tell your provider about the history of prescriptions. This includes prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, and herbal remedies.
- Tell your provider if you have a bleeding defect. Also tell your provider if you are taking antihypertensive (anticoagulant) medications, aspirin, or other medications that affect blood clotting. You can stop taking these medications before the test.
- If your doctor gives you medicine to relax you during the test (palliative), you will need someone to drive you home after the test.
- Follow other instructions from your provider to prepare.
During the procedure
The staff will ask you to lie down on the bed behind you. The staff inserts a needle into the part of the body they are looking at. The brine liquid passes through the needle so it does not get blocked before the dye is injected.
- Side effects of ‘Die’
- You may feel a slight chill and flushing for a few seconds
- Some parts of your body may feel hot. If this bothers you, tell the staff
- They may place a tight band (tourniquet) on the part of the body they are looking at to control blood flow
Once you are ready, the staff will go to the back or the next room on the screen to turn on the X-ray machine. You will be asked to stay still, take a deep breath during the process, and hold your breath.
When the procedure is complete, the staff will be asked to wait while they review the images, as you may need more X-rays. The venogram can take 30 minutes to an hour, including preparation.
Risks factors of venography
What are some of the possible risks?
- There is very little risk of an allergic reaction if the contrast material is injected.
- In rare cases, the venogram can cause deep vein thrombosis (blood clotting).
- There is a risk of kidney injury with contrast injection. Patients with renal (renal) insufficiency should be given special attention before receiving intravenous or arterial iodine-based contrast agents. These patients are at risk of developing contrast-induced nephropathy, in which pre-existing kidney damage is exacerbated. See the Contrast Materials page for more information.
- Any procedure that places a catheter in a blood vessel carries some risks. Damage to blood vessels, injury or bleeding at the puncture site, and infection are some of the risks. The doctor will take precautions to minimize these risks.
- Excessive radiation exposure always reduces the risk of cancer. However, the benefit of an accurate diagnosis outweighs the risk.
- The effective radiation dose for this procedure varies. See the radiation dose on the X-ray and CT exam page for more information on radiation dose.
- Because children are more susceptible to radiation exposure than adults, equipment and procedures are controlled to provide the lowest possible dose to young patients.
After the procedure
The catheter is removed and a bandage is placed over the injection site. Usually:
- When you get home from the exam, take the rest of the day lightly, and try to avoid any drastic measures
- Drink large amounts of liquid for the next 24 hours to help remove the rest of the contrast from your body
- The day after the test, the bandage can be removed
- Watch the injection site for swelling, warmth, redness, pain, or drainage. The injection site may be sore for a few days
- If bleeding or swelling occurs at the injection or puncture site, apply pressure to the site for at least 10 minutes
Most people will be able to return to normal activities the day after the test.
After the test, your medical team will closely examine your vital signs and the injection site for unusual side effects. Once you are allowed to go home, you can resume your activities as directed by your doctor.
If you have a high fever (over 101 degrees Fahrenheit), severe pain, or swelling at the injection site or bleeding at the injection site, call your doctor right away.