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UT Southwestern Medical Center’s interventional radiologists specialize in venous sampling to help accurately diagnose endocrine diseases, hormone-secreting tumors, and other conditions.
Minimally Invasive Diagnostic Techniques
Endocrine conditions such as hyperparathyroidism, hyperaldosteronism, and hyperpituitarism result in elevated levels of certain hormones in the blood. These conditions can often be difficult to diagnose with traditional diagnostic methods such as computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Instead, blood sampling from the veins of the respective endocrine organs is often an effective way to diagnose these conditions. In addition, some of the hormone-secreting tumors can be diagnosed with venous sampling.
UT Southwestern’s Comprehensive Noninvasive Vascular Imaging Laboratory offers cutting-edge, minimally invasive diagnostic techniques, which offer fewer risks and shorter recovery times for our patients. In addition to venous sampling, we offer image-guided biopsies and noninvasive vascular imaging.
Our interventional radiologists are specialists in minimally invasive techniques. In addition to the training that all radiologists receive, these specialists have advanced fellowship training in interventional radiology, plus extensive real-world experience.
Preparing for Venous Sampling
These procedures are performed with conscious sedation, a process in which the patient is given medication to feel sleepy but is not unconscious. Conscious sedation requires the patient to fast for eight hours before the procedure.
Most medications can be taken the morning of the procedure except those that affect blood clotting, such as aspirin, Plavix, Lovenox, or Coumadin. Patients taking one of these medications might need to stop taking it or be switched to another medicine for a few days before the procedure. Medication management will be coordinated by our team, if necessary.
Venous Sampling: What to Expect
Venous sampling procedures are performed in a sterile, surgical environment with the professional interventional radiology team, consisting of a physician, a technician, and a nurse.
After the patient is sedated, the technician inserts a small tube into the veins. Then, the physician uses fluoroscopic guidance to sample the venous blood from many different parts of the body to locate the source of the elevated hormone.
Following the initial sampling procedure, the venous catheter will be left in the vein. The patient will remain in the hospital room for approximately two hours while the initial results are obtained from the lab.