This test is done in the hospital. You will lie on an x-ray table.
The health care provider will clean and shave an area of the body (most often near the groin). Numbing medicine will be applied to the area. A needle is then placed into the artery.
When the needle is in the proper position, a thin wire is passed through it into the artery. The needle is taken out, and a long, narrow, flexible tube called a catheter is put in its place.
The radiologist guides the catheter into the proper position with the help of x-ray images of the body. The images are made by an instrument called a fluoroscope and sent to a TV monitor that the doctor can see.
The catheter is pushed forward over the wire and into the aorta (the main blood vessel leading from the heart) and then into the kidney artery.
The test uses a special dye (called contrast) to help the arteries show up on the x-ray. The blood vessels of the kidneys cannot be seen with ordinary x-rays. The dye flows through the catheter into the kidney artery.
X-ray images are taken as the dye moves through the blood vessels. Saline (sterile salt water) containing a blood thinner may also be sent through the catheter to keep blood in the area from clotting.
The catheter is removed after the x-rays are taken. A closure device is placed in the groin or pressure is applied to the area to stop the bleeding. The area is checked after 10 or 15 minutes and a bandage is applied. You may be asked to keep your leg straight for 4 to 6 hours after the procedure.