Most people know about medical screenings used in cardiovascular care, like EKGs that monitor heart activity or ultrasound imaging that obtains images of your heart and blood vessels.
But there’s another type of imaging that many people don’t know about, one that can play just as critical a role in your care. It’s called a venogram, and it uses special techniques to see inside your veins, the blood vessels that carry blood from your organs and extremities back to your heart and lungs.
With locations in Citrus Park, Tampa, and Lutz, Florida, Cardiovascular Institute Of America offers state-of-the-art venogram screenings for their patients with heart disease, deep vein thrombosis, and other vein health issues. Here’s what Muthu Velusamy, MD, FACC, ABVM, and his team want you to know about this very important type of medical test.
The basics of venograms
Most everyone knows about X-rays that help doctors view bones, joints, and organs. Venograms are another type of X-ray that enables your doctor to diagnose and manage conditions affecting your veins.
LIke other types of X-rays, venograms use tiny amounts of ionizing radiation to obtain “pictures” of your body — in this case, your blood vessels. Different types of tissues absorb ionizing radiation at varying levels. Bones absorb — and reflect — a lot, making them especially easy to view with an X-ray.
On the other hand, veins absorb very little. In order to make them visible on a venogram X-ray, Dr. Velusamy injects a small amount of iodine-based contrast dye before your venogram to help your veins become visible.
When venograms are used
Venograms are used to diagnose problems with your veins and to manage treatments of vein-related conditions. Dr. Velusamy may use a venogram to:
- Assess the structure of a vein or group of veins
- Evaluate varicose veins prior to treatment
- Look for blood clots or other blockages
- Diagnose the cause of leg swelling, cramps or other symptoms
- Guide placement of a stent inside a blocked vein
- Assess veins to be used in dialysis or bypass
- Determine when a treatment is or isn’t working
Prior to your venogram, Dr. Velusamy will explain why he’s performing the test and the role the test will play in your vascular treatment.
What to expect during your venogram
The contrast dye is administered through a thin tube called a catheter — the same type of tube that’s inserted when you get an IV. Prior to inserting the tube, your skin is numbed using a local anesthetic.
When the catheter is in place, the dye is slowly injected into your veins. You might feel some pressure or warmth, but it won’t be painful. The X-ray device begins gathering images of your veins as the dye moves through your blood vessels, making them easier to detect.
Most venograms take between 30 and 90 minutes, depending on the area and extent of the imaging. Afterward, the doctor removes the catheter and places a small bandage on the site. The remaining dye material will be removed by your body over the next few days.
Once we review the results, Dr. Velusamy discusses treatment recommendations specifically for you.
Learn more about venograms
Venograms play an im[portant role in many health conditions involving your veins, including conditions that can lead to more serious problems, like heart attack and stroke. To learn more about the venogram procedure and whether it could be a good choice for you, book an appointment online or over the phone with Dr. Velusamy and the team at Cardiovascular Institute of America.