Neurointerventional Radiology Procedures
Angiograms are performed by interventional radiologists (IR).
Angiography is an X-ray exam of the arteries and veins to diagnose
blockages and other blood vessel problems. A cerebral angiogram is an
X-ray of the blood vessels in your brain.
During an angiogram, the doctor inserts a thin tube (catheter) into
the artery through a small nick in the skin (usually femoral artery)
about the size of the tip of a pencil. A substance called a contrast
agent (X-ray dye) is injected to make the blood vessels visible on the
X-ray. You do not feel the catheter going through your body; you
may feel a flushing sensation as the dye is injected, this will only
last a few seconds.
will be asked to lie very still while your doctor gets the pictures he
needs. At times you will be asked to hold your breath while a picture is
being taken; this does not last longer than a few seconds.
Your doctor can treat a blocked blood vessel or a bulge (aneurysm)
without surgery; this will be scheduled for another time as you may
receive' general anesthesia to ensure you do not move during this
procedure. Techniques called angioplasty (balloon catheter), stent (a
metal tube placed in the blocked area), and thrombolysis (clot-busting
medication), and many more are all tools your doctor has for treatment.
If this is the case you will be admitted over night to the ICU for
Preparation for your angiogram:
It is very important that you bring a complete list of your
medications with you each time you go to the hospital or doctor's
office. You will be asked to have nothing to eat or drink from 12
midnight the night before your angiogram. Your doctor's office will
instruct you on your medications before your angiogram. It is VERY
important to let them know if you are taking Coumadin/Warfarin (or any
other blood thinners) and to receive special instructions
regarding these medications. You will be asked to arrive one or
one-and-a-half hours before your procedure depending on the facility.
You will be asked if you are allergic to any medications of foods; it
is important that you tell your doctor if you are allergic to anything.
You must have someone drive you home as it is not safe to drive after
receiving medication that helps you relax. You will be asked to rest
after discharge with heavy lifting or driving for 24 hours. You will be
asked to increase your fluid intake (water is best) to help flush the
dye from your system. A Band-Aid will be placed on your groin which you
should remove after 24 hours. Your doctor will tell you when you can
return to work.
As we are accessing an artery there is a chance of bleeding from the
artery. You may have some bruising around the insertion site. This is
not uncommon, if you have a large amount of bruising or a hard area
(blood collection under the skin, hematoma) you need to contact you
doctor or seek immediate medical attention. While the risk of stroke is
low (.5%), it is not zero. Infection, while uncommon, can occur; you
should inform your doctor if you show any signs of infection.
It is important that you return to our office for your follow up
appointment so we can check your groin (area of catheter insertion) and
answer any questions you may have. It is always a good idea to write
down your questions so you won’t forget and to have another person come
with you to your visit.