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Diagnostic Cerebral Angiography

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To get a better view inside the brain’s blood vessels, WakeMed offers a minimally invasive test that can determine if you have a problem with your arteries or veins in the brain and neck or if any vessels are ruptured or blocked.

Purpose of the Angiography Test

This test is often the first step in determining if your symptoms may be related to problems within your blood vessels. It gives neurologists valuable diagnostic information that helps clarify treatment options and determine the complexity of a patient’s condition. By getting a clear view within the vessels, surgeons are able to provide the most effective treatment that will optimize the outcome and possible provide a lifesaving intervention.

How Angiography is Performed

The test is performed as an outpatient procedure in WakeMed’s angiography suite. Medications are given through an IV to calm the patient. Throughout the procedure, the patient’s heart and oxygen levels are monitored. The groin area is prepared and the surgeon numbs the region with a local anesthetic. A tiny sheath is inserted into the femoral artery where a catheter is threaded up to the brain. While there may be an initial sensation when the catheter is inserted, the patient will not feel it as it moves through the body.

After the catheter reaches the brain, a contrast agent is injected through the IV, which illuminates the vessels. Patients may experience some flushing and headache or have a salty taste in the mouth. Medication can be given to control any nausea. Images will be taken so that the surgeon can make a definitive diagnosis.

Recovery Following Angiography

The test lasts about 30 minutes and requires six to eight hours recovery before the patient is discharged.

Learn What to Expect from Diagnostic Cerebral Angiography