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Cerebral Angiography: Characteristics, Preparation and Risks of the Test

Learn all concerning the test called cerebral angiography in this text.

Cerebral angiography: characteristics, preparation and risks of the test

Last actualisation: January 25, 2023

Cerebral angiography is a minimally invasive approach to medical imaging which uses a catheter, X-ray guidance, and injection of contrast agent to guage blood vessels within the brain. This examination, attributable to the presence of a catheter, enables the mix of diagnosis and treatment throughout the same procedure.

Evaluation of the blood vessels within the brain can discover abnormalities equivalent to aneurysms, stenoses, and the presence of blood clots. This examination is then evaluated by a radiologist.

What does a cerebral angiography consist of?

Cerebral angiography can also be generally known as an “angiogram”. In this procedure, an intravenous contrast agent is injected through a catheter to succeed in the blood vessels within the neck and brain. This, because of the photographs obtained with ionizing radiation (x-rays), makes it possible to visualise the cerebral blood flow.

Cerebral angiography procedure

The doctor will determine the necessity for a cerebral angiography for a definite diagnosis.

Cerebral angiography uses contrast material, often iodine, X-rays, and a catheter. The procedure begins with placing the person on the X-ray table and immobilizing the top. Your heart function should always be monitored throughout the test, so it’ll be linked to the electrocardiogram using different electrodes.

For cerebral angiography, a sedative could also be given to loosen up the person before the procedure begins. After sedation, a catheter is inserted. It is generally placed within the groin but can be placed within the shoulder.

The catheter allows contrast to be introduced into the blood vessels of the neck and head. Thus, it provides images of how blood flows through the brain.

An area anesthetic is utilized in the groin in order that a hole could be opened to suit the catheter. The catheter utilized in cerebral angiography is a skinny, hole tube that’s passed through an artery, cutting through the vessels within the abdominal and chest area until it reaches the carotid artery. Then its position is confirmed by X-rays.

When the catheter is correctly placed, the contrast agent is injected through the artery into the blood vessels of the brainafter which x-rays are taken.

After the imaging procedure is complete, the needle and catheter are removed and the catheter insertion area is straight away compressed for 10 to quarter-hour.

After the bleeding stops, a pressure dressing needs to be applied to the puncture site. To avoid complications, follow all medical instructions after the procedure.

Preparation and consideration before surgery

Do not eat or drink for 4 to eight hours before the cerebral angiography. In addition, tell your doctor if:

  • Allergy to shellfish, substances containing iodine or any component of contrast agents.
  • Pregnancy suspected.
  • History of bleeding or taking anticoagulants or antiplatelet drugs.
  • Any degree of renal impairment.
  • Diabetic patient (attributable to possible impairment of kidney function).
  • Allergy to local anesthetics or general anesthesia.
  • The use of steroid drugs.
  • Breastfeeding (breastfeeding women must not breastfeed until the contrast is totally excreted after about 24 hours).

After informing the doctor about all of the medications you’re taking, he’ll tell you which ones ones you possibly can tackle the identical day of the procedure and which of them needs to be discontinued. Always follow your doctor’s instructions.

After treatment

You can eat right after the cerebral angiography procedure, but it’s endorsed to rest for 12 hours before resuming all normal activities. Due to the likelihood of sedation, it’s best to not go to the hospital. Ideally, someone should accompany you.

The leg through which the cerebral angiography catheter was inserted needs to be kept outstretched for 4 to six hours after the tip of the procedure and monitored for bleeding over the following 12 hours.

Characteristics of cerebral angiography

The results of the cerebral angiography will likely be analyzed first by a radiologist.

Currently, digital intra-arterial subtraction angiography of the brain is used as a substitute of X-ray film to amass images electronically.. This allows the manipulation of the photographs to remove the bones and tissues that normally obscure the vessels, leading to a picture that clearly shows the flow within the vessels.

Risks related to the procedure of cerebral angiography

Although complications during and after a cerebral angiography are rare, some may occur, equivalent to:

  • Allergic response to the contrast medium.
  • Blood clots or bleeding where the catheter is inserted (affecting circulation within the leg or hand).
  • Damage to the artery by the catheter (could cause obstruction of blood flow and cerebrovascular disease).
  • Kidney injury attributable to the usage of intravenous contrast agent.

If you experience symptoms equivalent to sudden pain, swelling and discoloration of the catheterized limb or numbness of the limb, difficulty speaking, visual disturbances, facial weakness, or some other sign of neurological deficit, seek medical attention immediately.

Cerebral angiography provides images of the blood vessels within the neck and brain. It asks when signs and symptoms of changes appear in them:

  • Abnormal blood vessels (vascular malformations causing altered blood flow).
  • A bulge or protrusion in a secondary artery or weakening of the artery wall (aneurysm).
  • Narrowing of the arteries of the brain (atherosclerosis affecting the blood flow to the brain).
  • Inflammation of blood vessels within the brain (vasculitis).
  • Identifying the situation of blood clots within the presence of symptoms of cerebrovascular disease.
  • Endovascular treatment of intracranial stenoses, aneurysms and atherosclerotic diseases.

Learn more: What is a brain aneurysm? Find out about Emilia Clarke’s condition during Game of Thrones

It can also be useful for:

  • Evaluation of blood flow to the brain tumor.
  • Preparation of treatment (interventional radiological procedure) through specific blood vessels.
  • Evaluation of the arteries of the top and neck before surgery.
  • To provide additional information on abnormalities which were visualized on an MRI or CT scan of the brain.

This is a useful imaging test, although there are other options

Cerebral angiography is required if changes within the blood vessels of the brain are suspected, and is just not only useful in diagnosis but in addition in endovascular treatment. However, there at the moment are less invasive methods, equivalent to magnetic resonance angiography and CT angiography, that produce a clearer picture.

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