A contrast dye is a drug that contain radio opaque substance such as iodine that are given to patients to enhance the ability to see blood vessels and organs on medical images such as X-rays or computed tomography (CT) scans.
Why use contrast dye?
As with all x-rays, dense structures within the body—such as bone—are easily imaged, whereas soft tissues vary in their ability to stop x-rays and, thus, may be faint or difficult to see. For this reason, intravenous (IV) contrast agents have been developed that are highly visible in an x-ray or CT scan and are safe to use in patients. These images with contrast dye provide greater detail when necessary to help health care professionals diagnose potential problems.
Uses of contrast dye
For example, to examine the circulatory system, a contrast agent based on iodine is injected into the bloodstream to help illuminate blood vessels. This type of test is used to look for possible obstructions in blood vessels, including those in the heart. Oral contrast agents, such as barium-based compounds, are used for imaging the digestive system, including the esophagus, stomach, and GI tract.
How is contrast dye taken?
ICM products can be given as injections into the veins, by mouth as a drink, or rectally.