Fluoroscopy is a live or real time X-ray, which is viewed on a computer screen. An angiogram is a diagnostic procedure used to view blood vessels. So, what do these two have in common? An angiogram can't be done without the use of X-rays, and it is usually performed using the aid of a fluoroscope. Additionally, the two specialists involved are both types of radiologic technologists.
All X-ray imaging uses beams of radiation passed through the body (or a part of the body) to create images that couldn't otherwise be produced noninvasively. Whereas a normal X-ray machine passes a single beam of radiation through the targeted area to produce an image, a fluoroscope passes a continuous beam of radiation through the targeted area to produce a real time, moving series of images.
In angiography, contrast dyes are injected into the patient's bloodstream to make the blood vessels visible on X-ray images. Fluoroscopy is normally used during this type of procedure so the physician can view the vessels as the blood is passing through them. Often, strokes, blockages, vessel malformations and aneurysms are diagnosed in this way.
An angiographer is a person who has received specialty training to assist a physician in performing this procedure. Because the angiographer is present during fluoroscopy, which emits more radiation than a simple X-ray, he or she will likely be exposed to more radiation over the span of their career than other radiologic technologists. Although all X-ray equipment is designed to capture radiation that is not absorbed in the body, it is very important that the technologist operate with the latest safety equipment, precautions and standard operating procedures.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for radiologic technologists is expected to experience a growth of 28 percent over the next seven years. If you've longed for a career in health care technology, this might be just the right time to jump in the mix. Keep in mind that you may need additional certification for this specialty, depending on the requirements of the state in which you will work. If you're interested in learning about your state's requirements for fluoroscope operation, you can find the links you need online at the American Society of Radiologic Technicians.