Alternative Names: Cerebral angiogram, Carotid angiography
A cerebral, or carotid, angiogram is a test that shows the blood vessels of the neck, head, and brain in people who have, or may have had, a stroke or mini-stroke (Transient Ischaemic Attack), an abnormal brain scan, a brain tumour, or an aneurysm (a weakened area of a blood vessel that may burst). The test is carried out on an empty stomach and under sedation. A thin catheter (tube) is inserted into a blood vessel, usually in the groin, but sometimes in the neck, and then threaded up to the neck vessels. A special dye is injected through the catheter and X-rays taken. Possible risks associated with this test are: damage to blood vessels, loosening of blood clots that could cause a stroke, bleeding where the catheter was inserted, and reactions to the dye.
What is it?
A cerebral angiogram is a test that uses injected radio-opaque dye to show the blood vessels of the neck, head, and brain.
It is usually performed in a clinic or hospital and takes less than an hour.
Why is it done?
Cerebral angiography is done to investigate the blood flow to the brain, usually in people who have, or may have:
- Had a stroke or Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA, or mini-stroke)
- Impaired blood flow or blockage in the carotid (neck) artery
- An abnormal brain scan (CT or MRI scan)
- A brain tumour
- An aneurysm (weakened area of blood vessel that forms a sac and may burst)
Before – how to prepare
You will need to sign a consent form. You will need to eat and drink nothing (nil-per-mouth) for 12 hours prior to the procedure. You may be given a sedative 30-60 minutes before the procedure.
During – how the test is done
An intravenous line (drip) is usually placed in your arm. An area of skin in the groin (or occasionally the neck) is scrubbed clean and, once local anaesthetic has been injected under the skin, a thin catheter is inserted into a blood vessel. This catheter is then threaded up to the neck vessels, using X-ray images for guidance. Special dye is injected through the catheter and X-ray images are taken. The catheter is then removed and a tight dressing applied over the area where it was inserted.
After the test
It is important to rest for some time after the test and you should keep your leg still – instructions vary so it is best to check with your doctor.
Risks and Compilations
- Damage to blood vessels
- Loosening of blood clots within vessels, which may cause a stroke
- Excessive bleeding at the insertion site (groin)
- Reactions to the injected dye
- Radiation exposure (although most experts feel this is not a major concern)
A cerebral, or carotid, angiogram is a test that shows the blood vessels of the neck, head, and brain.
cerebral angiogram, carotid angiography, angiogram, brain aneurysm, aneurysm