Diagnostic and Interventional Angiograms: Learn the Difference

Recovery Room

Diagnostic and interventional angiograms are procedures that can be used to diagnose and treat various conditions. Angiograms are also referred to as angiographies or arteriograms.

Diagnostic and interventional angiograms are both minimally invasive procedures. During an angiogram, the physician will insert a catheter into a large artery in the area of the patient’s groin. Using x-ray guidance, the physician threads the catheter through the artery to the point that needs to be examined or treated.

Angiograms are used to diagnose and treat conditions in many areas of the body, including the abdomen, arms and hands, brain, chest, heart, legs and feet, neck, and pelvis. The physicians at Vascular & Vein Institute of Siouxland use diagnostic and interventional angiograms to diagnose and treat a variety of conditions such as peripheral artery disease, carotid disease, and aortic disease.

Diagnostic Angiograms

Diagnostic angiograms are considered the gold standard for assessing narrowing and/or blockages in the arteries. Once the physician threads the catheter to the area of interest, they will release a small amount of fluid from the catheter. This fluid is called contrast and allows the blood vessels to appear on the x-ray.

The physicians at Vascular & Vein Institute of Siouxland are specially trained in reading angiograms and can use the x-ray images to view the extent of blood vessel damage. From there, they are able to determine whether further treatment is necessary.

Interventional Angiograms

While diagnostic angiograms are used to simply diagnose an issue, interventional angiograms are used to treat conditions. The physicians at Vascular & Vein Institute of Siouxland use two different types of endovascular treatment during interventional angiograms, balloon angioplasties and stent placements.

Angioplasties are primarily used to open arterial blockages. Once the physician threads the catheter to the area of interest, they will use it to place an inflatable balloon in the blocked area of the artery. They inflate the balloon, expanding the artery and compacting the blockage. The physician will then deflate and remove the balloon before injecting contrast for a diagnostic angiogram to ensure the procedure was successful.

Stents are a permanent implant and are commonly used to open a narrowed artery. They are often used following a balloon angioplasty if there is still insufficient blood flow after treatment. Once the physician threads the catheter to the area of interest, they insert the stent in the narrowed portion of the artery. There, the stent will expand to the correct size and shape of the artery, helping to allow for sufficient blood flow.

Call 605-217-5617 to schedule an appointment with one of our physicians.

Uterine Fibroids: What You Need to Know

Group of Women Smiling

Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths that occur in the muscle cells of the uterus. These fibroids don’t spread to other areas of the body, typically aren’t dangerous, and often appear during childbearing years. Uterine fibroids can range in size from so small they’re undetectable by the human eye to bulky masses that can enlarge the uterus.

Fibroids are common, with more than 200,000 new cases in the US each year. According to the Society of Interventional Radiology, “From 20 to 40 percent of women age 35 and older have uterine fibroids of a significant size. African American women are at higher risk for fibroids; as many as 50 percent have fibroids of a significant size.”

While no definitive cause for uterine fibroids has been found, the following factors seem to put patients more at risk for developing them:

  • Overweight
  • African American
  • Family history of fibroids
  • High blood pressure
  • Have had no children
  • Beginning menstruation at an early age
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Alcohol consumption


Symptoms experienced can be affected by the location, size, and amount of fibroids. It’s also important to note that uterine fibroids often cause no symptoms. For those that do show symptoms, the following are common:

  • Pelvic pressure or pain
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Menstrual periods that last more than a week
  • Severe cramps
  • Pain during or following intercourse
  • Abdominal enlargement
  • Pain down the back of one or both legs
  • Difficulty completely emptying bladder
  • Frequent urination
  • Constipation


Following an exam, the physicians at Vascular & Vein Institute of Siouxland use a transvaginal ultrasound or MRI to confirm the presence of uterine fibroids.


While uterine fibroids are very common, only a small percentage of these growths require treatment.

The physicians at Vascular & Vein Institute of Siouxland use uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) to treat fibroids. UFE is a minimally invasive procedure that preserves your uterus and controls symptoms, improving the patient’s quality of life. The procedure is performed using x-ray guidance to block blood flow to the fibroid and only requires one small incision in the wrist or groin.

Because UFE is a minimally invasive procedure, it is performed as an outpatient procedure and requires less time to heal. In fact, many patients return to their normal activity level in about one week.

Call 605-217-5617 to schedule an appointment.