The use of angiography as a purely diagnostic radiologic treatment has steadily declined since the 1980s. However, during the same period, the therapeutic applications of angiography have expanded considerably.

Angiography provides a complete examination of the arterial supply to an organ. For studies of the kidney, the aorta and renal arteries are typically visualized. In this study, a catheter is used to inject a contrast agent (dye) into the major blood vessel in the body. The amount of dye used depends on the size and function of the kidneys and renal blood flow. Throughout the dye injection procedure, X-ray images are taken at a rapid rate to permit visualization of the kidney and associated blood vessels.

Possible complications may include reaction to the dye, bleeding and injury to the artery.