(Venography, Phlebography, Lower Limb Venography)
A venogram is a procedure that provides x-ray visualization of the veins, particularly in the lower extremities (legs). A special dye is injected that is visible upon x-ray. The contrast dye allows the physician to evaluate the size and condition of the veins. A venogram is one of the more accurate tests used for diagnosing deep vein thrombosis (DVT), but can also be used to diagnose other abnormalities.
Depending on the reason for the procedure, several methods can be used to examine the veins with venography:
X-rays use invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones, and organs on film. X-rays are made by using external radiation to produce images of the body, its organs, and other internal structures for diagnostic purposes. X-rays pass through body structures onto specially-treated plates (similar to camera film) and a "negative" type picture is made (the more solid a structure is, the whiter it appears on the film).
Other related procedures that may be used to diagnose problems of the veins include vascular studies and renal venogram. Please see these procedures for additional information.
A venogram is used to confirm a diagnosis of DVT and to distinguish clot formation from other venous obstructions. It can also be used to evaluate congenital (present at birth) venous malformations or to locate a vein for arterial bypass graft surgery. It may be used to determine the cause of swelling or pain in the extremity and also to determine the source of pulmonary emboli (blood clots that have traveled to the lung).
The amount of radiation used during a venogram is considered minimal; therefore, the risk for radiation exposure is very low.
If you are pregnant or suspect that you may be pregnant, you should notify your physician. Radiation exposure during pregnancy may lead to birth defects.
Because contrast dye is used, there is a risk for allergic reaction to the dye. Patients who are allergic to or sensitive to medications, contrast dye, or iodine should notify their physician.
Patients with kidney failure or other kidney problems should notify their physician. In some cases, the contrast dye can cause kidney failure, especially if the person is taking Glucophage (a diabetic medication).
Notify your physician if you have a history of bleeding disorders or if you are taking any anticoagulant (blood-thinning) medications, aspirin, or other medications that affect blood clotting.
For certain individuals, a venogram may be contraindicated. These include persons with a known allergy to contrast dye, severe congestive heart failure, and severe pulmonary hypertension.
There may be other risks depending on your specific medical condition. Be sure to discuss any concerns with your physician prior to the procedure.
Certain factors or conditions may interfere with the accuracy of a venogram. These factors include, but are not limited to, the following:
A venogram may be performed on an outpatient basis or as part of your stay in a hospital. Procedures may vary depending on your condition and your physician's practices.
Generally, the venogram follows this process:
Following the procedure, your vital signs (heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure) will be monitored frequently and then at intervals determined by your physician. The peripheral pulses in your feet, as well as the temperature, color, and sensation in your legs will be checked. The injection site will also be monitored for redness, warmth, swelling, and tenderness.
Normal activities and diet can be resumed after the procedure as directed by your physician.
Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration and to help pass the contrast dye.
Notify your physician to report any of the following:
Your physician may give you additional or alternate instructions after the procedure, depending on your particular situation.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your physician. Please consult your physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.
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