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(1) A method of roentgenographic examination of veins by injection of a contrast medium. Phlebography is used to diagnose varicose veins and other diseases.
(2) Venous sphygmography, a method of studying blood circulation in man and animals by means of graphic registration of the venous pulse, that is, the pulsations of venous walls. The curves obtained are called phlebograms. The external jugular vein is generally used, and the curves are registered on paper, usually by means of a mirror venous sphygmograph. Several types of waves are observed, reflecting the different stages of blood circulation: the cessation of the blood flow from the venae cavae into the right atrium when the atrium contracts, the transmission of pulsation of the carotid artery to the adjacent jugular vein during ventricular systole, and the filling of the right ventricle and large veins with blood during ventricular diastole.
Phlebography is useful in measuring the duration of cardiac phases and the tonus of the right atrium. It is used as a diagnostic tool in such disorders as heart disease and elevated pressure in pulmonary circulation.