Cerebral Angiography

March 17 19:54 2019 Print This Article

Cerebral Angiography is a contrast X-ray test for abnormalities of the carotid arteries, the main arteries supplying the head. Cerebral (also called carotid) angiography is most often used to examine the arteries of the brain in cases of stroke or suspected subarachnoid haemorrhage (bleeding onto the surface of the brain), or to detect clots, bleeding and other disorders of neck and head circulation.

This is a hospital procedure. The patient lies on an X-ray table and a general anaesthetic is usually given. Acatheter (thin tube) is inserted in either the carotid artery in the neck or the femoral artery in the groin (in which case the catheter must be guided all the way to the carotid in, the neck). A solution visible on X-ray is injected through the catheter and X-rays are taken as it flows through the blood vessels in the head. The test takes an hour or more.

How to prepare for the test?

  • Tell the health care provider if you are pregnant or if you have ever had any bleeding problems.
  • You will need to be at rest for a few days afterwards, resulting in at least a week off work.
  • Routine blood tests will be done and an examination of the nervous system performed before the procedure.
  • A sedative or pain pill may be given to you before the procedure.


Let your health care provider know immediately if you have:

  • Slurred speech.
  • Numbness in your leg during or after the procedure.
  • Facial weakness.

What the risks are?

There is the possibility of significant complications:

  • A reaction to the contrast dye can occur.
  • A clot or bleeding at the puncture site may result in a partial blockage of the blood flow to the leg.
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