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Cerebral Angiogram


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Angiogram is an imaging test or X ray that helps to obtain images of blood vessels. Cerebral angiogram is performed on the blood vessels of the brain to detect problems in them.


Why is cerebral angiogram performed?

Complications in blood vessels can give rise to medical conditions in the brain. Cerebral angiogram is performed to diagnose the following problems:

  •  Aneurysms
  •  To study blood flow to tumor in brain
  •  Arteriovenous malformation
  •  Clot in blood vessel- thrombosis
  •  Obstruction or blockage in blood vessel
  •  Spasms in blood vessels- vasospasm
  •  Stenosis or narrowing of blood vessels
  •  To detect severity of damage to blood vessels after stroke
  •  To check the condition of blood vessels of brain and neck before surgery

Cerebral angiogram may also be performed to check the conditions of blood vessels of brain on experiencing symptoms like severe headache, dizziness, memory loss, loss of balance and speech, etc.


How is it performed?

Images of the blood vessels are obtained with the help of a contrast dye. A long thin tube or catheter is inserted in the femoral artery of the groin or brachial artery of the arm followed by injection of the contrast dye into the catheter. X ray images of the blood vessels are then taken which appear clear due to the contrast dye.  

How to prepare for cerebral angiogram?

You need to let your doctor know the following:

  • Any pre existing medical condition like asthma, diabetes, kidney disease, heart problems, etc. and the medicines that you are taking. 
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • You are allergic to any food or to dyes or have suffered from severe allergic reaction in the past

Your doctor would ask you stop taking blood thinners like aspirin for a certain period before performing the test.

Secondly, you cannot eat or drink anything 4 to 8 hours prior to undergoing cerebral angiogram

You will be asked to take off jewelry and other accessories that you might be wearing

Your doctor will check your vital parameters like heart rate, blood pressure, etc and might suggest urine tests and blood tests for BUN, creatinine and coagulation studies etc.

You will be asked to empty your bladder before the test

Also make sure somebody accompanies you back to home.


What happens during cerebral angiogram?

Your doctor or radiologist will position you on the x ray table, secure your head and connect to an EKG monitor to record the vital signs. Your arm or groin area would be cleansed with antiseptic and local anesthetic will be given before inserting the catheter

A tiny incision is made to insert the tube but you do not feel any pain. However, you can sense flushing and nausea when the dye is injected. Follow your doctor’s instructions and report immediately on experiencing trouble in breathing.


What to expect after cerebral angiogram?

The incision site would be pressed and a dressing would be applied to stop bleeding. Your doctor would observe your vital parameters and make sure they are stable before releasing you.

You need to take several precautions like: avoid lifting heavy objects or refrain from strenuous physical activity for at least two days. Drink at least 3-4 liters of water in the next 24 hours and stay away from alcohol and caffeine.


Risks associated with cerebral angiogram

Small chances of stroke, internal bleeding, infection, damage to blood vessel and allergic reaction are there. However, your doctor would take the best measures to nullify the risks.

Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: October 11, 2014

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