Percutaneous Transhepatic Cholangiography (PTCA)

What is the test?

Percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography is an x-ray test that can help show whether there is a blockage in the liver or the bile ducts that drain it. Since the liver and its drainage system do not normally show up on x-rays, the doctor doing the x-ray needs to inject a special dye directly into the drainage system of the liver. This dye, which is visible on x-rays, should then spread out to fill the whole drainage system. If it does not, that means there is a blockage. This type of blockage might result from a gallstone or a cancer in the liver.

How do I prepare for the test?

Tell your doctor if you have ever had an allergic reaction to lidocaine or the numbing medicine used at the dentist's office, or to x-ray dye. Also tell your doctor if you could be pregnant, since x-rays can harm the developing baby. If you have diabetes and take insulin, discuss this with your doctor before the test.

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