A fistulogram is a special x-ray procedure. It uses contrast (x-ray dye) to look at the blood flow in your fistula or graft (dialysis access). This procedure can check to see if it is blocked or if there is any narrowing (stenosis) and a fistulogram uses a form of real-time x-ray called fluoroscopy and a barium-based contrast material to produce images of an abnormal passage within the body called a fistula. Similarly, a sinogram assesses an abnormal passage called a sinus that originates or ends in one opening, often on the skin. Both examinations are used to assess and diagnose the size and shape of fistulas and sinuses and any related abscess and/or infection.You will be instructed on how to prepare. You may be asked to refrain from eating or drinking anything for several hours before the examination, but you should be allowed to take medications with small amounts of clear fluid up to two hours prior. Tell your doctor if there's a possibility you are pregnant and discuss any recent illnesses, medical conditions, medications you're taking and allergies, especially to contrast materials. Leave jewelry at home and wear loose, comfortable clothing. You may be asked to wear a gown.
Fistulography may be warranted in patients with recurrent fistulas or when a prior procedure has failed to identify the internal opening. With this technique, the external opening is cannulated with a small-caliber tube and contrast material is injected under minimal pressure while films are taken in several projections. Fistulography may be useful in identifying unsuspected pathology, planning surgical management, and demonstrating anatomic relationships.
What can I expect?