Angiogram (angiography): A thin, flexible tube is inserted into the arteries, special dye is injected, and an X-ray shows blood flow through the arteries. Areas of narrowing or bleeding in the arteries can often be identified through angiography.
Computed tomographic angiography (CT-A scan): A CT scanner takes multiple X-rays, and a computer compiles them into detailed images of the arteries. A CT-A scan can often show narrowing or other problems in the arteries with less risk than regular angiography.
Stress test: Either with exercise or medicines, the heart is stimulated to beat rapidly. As this stress increases blood flow through the heart, narrowings in the coronary arteries may be identified through various testing techniques.
Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA scan): An MRI scanner uses a high-powered magnet and a computer to create highly detailed images of structures inside the body. MRA is a setting that allows an MRI scanner to best display images of the arteries.
Cardiac catheterization: A catheter (a thin, flexible tube) is inserted into one of the arteries in the groin and advanced into the heart. A dye that improves image contrast is injected through the catheter so that blood flow through the coronary arteries can be seen on an X-ray screen. Blockages in the arteries may then be found and treated.
Artery biopsy: A small piece of an artery is removed and examined under a microscope, usually to diagnose vasculitis. The temporal artery in the scalp is most often biopsied.
Treatments for the Arteries
Treatments for the Arteries
Statins: Cholesterol-lowering medicines taken by mouth, including Crestor, Lipitor, Pravachol, and Zocor. Taken daily, statins can lower the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
Aspirin: In addition to its pain-reducing and fever-reducing properties, aspirin interferes with blood clotting. Taken daily, aspirin can help prevent heart attacks and strokes.
Plavix (clopidogrel): A medicine that interferes with blood clotting, similar to aspirin. Plavix is commonly prescribed after heart attacks or strokes to prevent future ones.
Artery stenting: A stent -- a small mesh tube -- is placed inside an artery to hold it open. Stenting is most often performed on the coronary arteries.
Angioplasty: During a catheterization of one of the arteries, a balloon is inflated inside the artery to help keep it open.
Corticosteroids: Anti-inflammatory medicines like prednisone or Solu-Medrol are used to treat vasculitis affecting the arteries.
Thrombolytics: Powerful "clot-busting" drugs may be injected into the body to dissolve a blood clot causing a heart attack or stroke.
Pletal (cilostazol) and Trental (pentoxifylline): Medicines that help increase blood flow through the arteries of the legs. In people with peripheral artery disease, these drugs can reduce the pain of walking.