Cerebral Angiogram

If we suspect there is something affecting the flow of blood to the brain, we will order a cerebral angiogram to create detailed x-ray pictures of the blood vessels.


Cerebral AngiogramHow is an angiogram performed?

A specialist will insert a catheter through a small incision near your thigh or wrist into a large blood vessel, guiding it through the blood vessels in your neck to be able to look at the vessels in your head. We use contrast dye so we can see the blood vessels on the x-rays and look for abnormalities. When the test is done, the catheter is removed and the incision closed using pressure or a bandage. You can remove the bandage 24 hours later.

Are there risks?

Cerebral angiograms are safe but there are always risks associated with a procedure, including:

  • Bleeding
  • Blood vessel injury
  • Reaction to the contrast dye
  • Hematoma
  • Stroke

In serious cases, coma and even death are possible.

What happens after the procedure?

Once your cerebral angiogram is complete, you will be taken to the recovery room where the clinical team will watch you closely for four hours. Nurses will take your vital signs, preform a neurological exam and check your pulses and puncture site periodically. You need to lay flat with your legs straight for three hours. You can then sit up slowly and walk, and we will discuss the test results with you. If there are no concerns, you will be discharged. The procedure is done under sedation so you will need someone to drive you home.

What happens once I’m home?

You will be tired from the medication so resting is important. We advise against driving and making important decisions for 24 hours. You can take 650mg of Tylenol every 6 hours as needed.

You can remove the bandage 24 hours after your procedure and leave the area open to air. Check the site for the next week. You can shower 24 hours after the procedure, gently washing the area with soap and water and patting it dry with a clean towel. Do not rub the area.

Avoid strenuous activity, lifting anything over 10 pounds, hot tubs and riding a bike for a week. You can resume a regular diet, home medications and light activity such as walking.

What should I look for?

Monitor the area for redness, swelling, drainage, pain, bleeding or weakness/numbness. Bruising is normal, but if you notice oozing from the site, swelling that is tense or your leg becomes cold or weak, call our office or 911 immediately.

Ayer Neuroscience Institute