Cerebral angiogram is an X-ray of the blood vessels in your brain.
Angiography is an X-ray exam of the arteries and veins to diagnose blockages and other blood vessel abnormalities.
During an angiogram, the doctor inserts a thin tube (catheter) into the artery through a small nick in the skin (usually femoral artery) about the size of the tip of a pencil. A substance called a contrast agent (X-ray dye) is injected to make the blood vessels visible on the X-ray. You do not feel the catheter going through your body; you may feel a flushing sensation as the dye is injected, this only last a few seconds.
You will be asked to lie very still while your doctor obtains the pictures needed. At times you will be asked to hold your breath while a picture is been taken, this does not last longer than a few seconds.
Your doctor can treat a blocked blood vessel or a bulge (aneurysm) in the vessel without surgery; this will be scheduled for another time as you will need general anesthesia to ensure you do not move during this procedure. Techniques called Angioplasty (balloon catheter) Stent (a metal tube placed in the blocked area) and Thrombolysis (Clot busting medication) and many more, are all tools your doctor may use. If this is the case you will be admitted to the ICU following the procedure for observation.
Preparation for your Angiogram:
It is very important that you bring a complete list of your medications with you each time you go to the hospital or doctor’s office. You will be asked to have nothing to eat or drink from 12mn the night before your angiogram. Your doctor’s office will instruct you on your medications before your angiogram. It is VERY important to let them know if you are taking Coumadin/Warfarin or any other blood thinners and to get special instruction on those medications. You will be asked to arrive one and a half hours before your procedure. You will be asked if you are allergic to any medications of foods, it is important that you tell your doctor if you are allergic to anything.
You must have someone drive you home as it is not safe to drive after receiving medication to help you relax. You will be asked to rest after discharge with no lifting heavy objects or driving for 24 hours. You will be asked to increase your fluid intake (water is best) to help flush the dye from your system. A Band-Aid will be placed on your groin which you should remove after 24 hours. Your doctor will tell you when you can return to work.
Risks Associated with Cerebral Angiogram
The chance of any complication with a cerebral angiogram is small. However, it is important to be aware of the possible risks which your doctor will discuss with you before the procedure.
Post Procedure: As we are accessing an artery there is a chance of bleeding from the artery. You may have some bruising around the insertion site, this is not uncommon. If you have a large amount of bruising or a hard area (blood collection under the skin known as a hematoma) you need to contact you doctor or seek immediate medical attention. You will be given instructions before leaving the hospital.
Follow up: It is important that you return to our office for your follow up appointment so we can check your groin (area of catheter insertion) and answer any questions you may have. It is always a good idea to write down your questions so you won’t forget and have another person come with you to your visit. If you have any other questions or concerns please feel to free discuss this with your doctor.