Christie Clinic - Medicine for Your Life

Our website is currently having technical difficulties. To view the site, please click here

Health Encyclopedia

Health Encyclopedia

An invaluable resource of health information.

Cerebral angiography

Cerebral angiography is a procedure that uses a special dye (contrast material) and x-rays to see how blood flows through the brain.

  • Alternative Names

    Vertebral angiogram; Angiography - head; Carotid angiogram

  • How the test is performed

    Cerebral angiography is done in the hospital or large radiology center. You will be asked to lie on an x-ray table. Your head is positioned and held still using a strap, tape, or sandbags, so you do not move during the procedure. The health care provider will attach electrocardiogram (ECG) leads to your arms and legs, which monitor your heart activity during the test.

    Before the test starts, you will be given a mild sedative to help you relax.

    An area of your body, usually the groin, is cleaned and numbed with a local numbing medicine (anesthetic). A thin, hollow tube called a catheter is placed through an artery and carefully moved up through the main blood vessels in the belly area and chest and into an artery in the neck. Moving x-ray images help the doctor position the catheter.

    Once the catheter is in place, a special dye (contrast material) is injected into catheter. X-ray images are taken to see how the dye moves through the artery and blood vessels of the brain. The dye helps highlight any blockages in blood flow.

    After the x-rays are taken, the needle and catheter are withdrawn. Pressure is immediately applied on the leg at the site of insertion for 10 - 15 minutes to stop the bleeding. After that time, the area is checked and a tight bandage is applied. Your leg should be kept straight for 12 hours after the procedure.

    Digital subtraction angiography (DSI) uses a computer to "subtract" or take out the bones and tissues in the area viewed, so that only the blood vessels filled with the contrast dye are seen.

  • How to prepare for the test

    You must sign a consent form. Your health care provider will explain the procedure and its risks.

    Routine blood tests and examination of the nervous system will be done before the procedure.

    Tell the health care provider if you:

    • Are allergic to shellfish or iodine substances
    • Have a history of bleeding problems
    • Have had an allergic reaction to x-ray contrast dye or any iodine substance
    • May be pregnant

    You may be told not to eat or drink anything for 4 to 8 hours before the test.

    When you arrive at the testing site, you will be given a hospital gown to wear. You must remove all jewelry.

  • How the test will feel

    The x-ray table may feel hard and cold. You may wish to ask for a blanket or pillow.

    Some people feel a sting when the numbing medicine (anesthetic) is given. You will feel a brief, sharp pain as the catheter is inserted. There is a feeling of pressure as the catheter is moved into the body.

    Some people feel a warm or burning sensation of the skin of the face or head when the contrast dye is injected.

    You may have slight tenderness and bruising at the site of the injection after the test.

  • Why the test is performed

    Cerebral angiography is most frequently used to identify or confirm problems with the blood vessels in the brain.

    Your doctor may order this test if you have symptoms or signs of:

    • Abnormal blood vessels (vascular malformation)
    • Aneurysm
    • Narrowing of the arteries in the brain
    • Vasculitis

    It is sometimes used to:

    • Confirm a brain tumor
    • Evaluate the arteries of the head and neck before surgery
    • Find a clot that may have caused a stroke

    In some cases, this procedure may be used to get more detailed information after something abnormal has been detected by an MRI or CT scan of the head.

    This test may also be done in preparation for medical treatment (interventional radiology procedures) by way of certain blood vessels.

  • What abnormal results mean

    Contrast dye flowing out of the blood vessel may be a sign of internal bleeding.

    Narrowed arteries may suggest cholesterol deposits, a spasm, or inherited disorders.

    Out of place blood vessels may be due to brain tumors, bleeding within the skull, aneurysm (bulging of the artery walls), or arteriovenous malformation.

    Abnormal results may also be due to:

  • What the risks are

    There is the possibility of significant complications, including:

    • Allergic reaction to the contrast dye
    • Blood clot or bleeding at the needle stick site, which could partly block blood flow to the leg
    • Damage to an artery or artery wall from the catheter, which can block blood flow and cause a stroke (rare)
  • Special considerations

    Tell your health care provider immediately if you have:

    • Facial weakness
    • Numbness in your leg during or after the procedure
    • Slurred speech
    • Vision problems
  • References

    Koenigsberg RA, Bianco BA, Faro SH, Stickles S, Hershey BL, Siegal TL, et al. Neuroimaging. In: Goetz, CG, eds. Textbook of Clinical Neurology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 23.

Review Date: 1/6/2009

Reviewed By: Daniel B. Hoch, PhD, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2014 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
adam.com
Christie Clinic at the Family Medical Center in Paris
727 East Court Street Paris, IL 61944 Dermatology: 366-1248; Vein and Vascular: 366-2670
Christie Clinic Christie Clinic on University Photo Christie Clinic on University
101 West University Avenue Champaign, IL 61820 Main Phone: (217) 366-1200
Billing Services: (217) 366-1382
Toll Free: (888) 391-0412
Christie Clinic Christie Clinic on Windsor/Convenient Care Photo Christie Clinic on Windsor/Convenient Care
1801 West Windsor Road Champaign, IL 61822 (217) 366-8000
Christie Clinic Christie Clinic at Presence Covenant Photo Christie Clinic at Presence Covenant
1400 West Park Street Urbana, IL 61801 (217) 366-1200
Christie Clinic Christie Clinic in Rantoul Photo Christie Clinic in Rantoul
209 West Borman Drive Rantoul, IL 61866 (217) 892-9671
Christie Clinic Christie Clinic in Mahomet/Convenient Care Photo Christie Clinic in Mahomet/Convenient Care
1001 Commercial Drive Mahomet, IL 61853 Main Number: (217) 586-6600 Convenient Care: (217)366-8130
Christie Clinic Christie Clinic in Tuscola Photo Christie Clinic in Tuscola
300 North Main Street Tuscola, IL 61953 (217) 253-9258
Christie Clinic CU Sleep Photo CU Sleep
1207 South Mattis Avenue Champaign, IL 61821 (217) 355-1684
Christie Clinic Christie Clinic Cancer Center Photo Christie Clinic Cancer Center
109 West University Avenue Champaign, IL 61820 (217) 366-5180
Christie Clinic Convenient Care in County Market (Kirby & Duncan) Photo Convenient Care in County Market (Kirby & Duncan)
2901 West Kirby Avenue Champaign, IL 61821 (217) 366-8130
Christie Clinic Christie Clinic in Urbana/Convenient Care Photo Christie Clinic in Urbana/Convenient Care
1710 East Windsor Road Urbana, IL 61802 (217) 344-9440
Christie Clinic Christie Clinic in Danville on Logan Photo Christie Clinic in Danville on Logan
800 North Logan Avenue Danville, IL 61832 (217) 431-8930
Christie Clinic Christie Clinic on Fox Drive Photo Christie Clinic on Fox Drive
2110 Fox Drive, Suite B Champaign, IL 61820
Christie Clinic Christie Clinic in Monticello at Kirby Medical Group Specialty Clinic Photo Christie Clinic in Monticello at Kirby Medical Group Specialty Clinic
1109 B North State Street Monticello, IL 61856 (217) 366-1304
Gibson Area Hospital
1120 N Melvin Gibson City, IL 60936 (217) 784-2240
Christie Clinic Christie Clinic in Mattoon Photo Christie Clinic in Mattoon
105 B Professional Plaza Mattoon, IL 61938 (217) 345-3000
Christie Clinic Sarah Bush Lincoln Health System Photo Sarah Bush Lincoln Health System
1000 Health Center Drive Mattoon, IL 61938 (217) 258-2588
Christie Clinic The Champaign SurgiCenter Photo The Champaign SurgiCenter
1702 S. Mattis Avenue Champaign, IL 61821 (217) 326-2030
Christie Clinic The Carle Foundation Hospital Photo The Carle Foundation Hospital
611 West Park Street Urbana, IL 61801 (217) 383-3311
Iroquois Memorial Hospital
200 E. Fairman Ave. Watseka, IL 60970 (815) 432-5841
Christie Clinic Christie Clinic in Savoy Photo Christie Clinic in Savoy
501 North Dunlap Avenue Savoy, IL 61874 Transformations: (217) 366-7460 Internal Medicine: (217) 366-5434 Ophthalmology: (217) 366-1250
Christie Clinic on West Park Street
1405 West Park Street Urbana, IL 61801 217-366-1237
Christie Clinic in Monticello
107 West Main Street Monticello, IL 61856 217.762.3352
Christie Clinic Christie Clinic in Decatur Photo Christie Clinic in Decatur
100 South Water Street Suite 103 Decatur, IL 62523 217-362-0661- telephone
Christie Clinic Christie Clinic in Danville on Vermilion/Convenient Care Photo Christie Clinic in Danville on Vermilion/Convenient Care
3545 North Vermilion Street Danville, IL 61832 (217) 442-8611