What is a Diagnostic Cerebral Angiography?
Diagnostic cerebral angiography is a test that provides detailed images of the blood vessels in the brain and elsewhere within the head and neck. It is performed to identify blood vessels that are abnormal. Diagnostic cerebral angiography can help diagnose blood clots, blood vessel occlusion, cerebral aneurysms, and other vascular abnormalities.
Preparing for Diagnostic Cerebral Angiography
Before undergoing diagnostic cerebral angiography, your doctor will perform a physical examination and review your medical history. Be sure to notify your doctor of all medications you are currently taking, as some of them may need to be temporarily stopped before the test. It is also important to notify your doctor of any allergies you have, as well as if you are or may be pregnant, or have asthma or diabetes. The night before your diagnostic cerebral angiography, you are not to eat or drink anything past midnight.
What to Expect During Diagnostic Cerebral Angiography
Diagnostic cerebral angiography is performed under sedation, so you will need to bring a friend or relative along to drive you home afterwards. When you arrive, you will be asked to change into a dressing gown, and final urine, blood, or imaging tests may be performed. While you are lying down on an examination table, the skin surrounding the site of the catheter insertion is sterilized, a local anesthetic is applied to the area, and a small incision is made. Then, a small wire is inserted through the incision, and with the assistance of fluoroscopy, the catheter is inserted through the wire and into the artery. Once the catheter is in place, contrast dye is injected into the catheter; the contrast dye ensures that the artery being studied is highlighted in the images produced by this test. X-rays are then taken, and when complete, the catheter is removed, pressure is applied to prevent bleeding, and a bandage is placed over the area.
Recovery from Diagnostic Cerebral Angiography
After diagnostic cerebral angiography, you will be taken to a recovery area, where your vitals will be monitored for the next six to eight hours. When you are sent home, you will be advised to avoid operating heavy machinery for the first 24 hours after the test, and to refrain from driving, heavy lifting, and exercise for the first 48 hours afterwards. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids for the first 24 hours after diagnostic cerebral angiography to flush out the contrast dye from your body.
Risks of Diagnostic Cerebral Angiography
While diagnostic cerebral angiogram is a relatively safe test, there is still a slight risk of complications. These risks may include stroke, infection, damage to a blood vessel, internal bleeding, and an allergic reaction to the contrast dye. You can minimize the occurrence of complications by choosing a qualified neurosurgeon for your diagnostic cerebral angiography.