Categories: NeurologyNeurosurgery

Brain Angiogram: Why Is It Done?

Brain angiogram, also known as a cerebral angiogram, is one of the common diagnostic tests that use X-ray for producing an image to help your doctor find blockages or any other abnormalities existing in the blood vessels, around your head and neck. It’s important to note that blockages or abnormalities might lead to a worse condition such as a stroke or internal bleeding in the brain.

For the angiogram brain test, your doctor would inject a contrast medium in your blood. It is this contrast material that helps the X-ray create an image of your blood vessels. Once the image is produced, your doctor would be able to identify whether there are any blockages or abnormalities present.

Uses of Cerebral Angioplasty

Well, in this case, it is worth noting that not all the people who have arterial blockage should have to undergo angiogram of the brain. The main reason why this process is practised is that in many scenarios, the doctors would require some additional information to plan the treatment procedure.

In this regard, Cerebral angiography can also help diagnose the following conditions:

  • Aneurysm
  • Arteriovenous malformation
  • Inflammation of blood vessels
  • Brain tumours
  • Tears in the artery lining

How to Start Preparing?

It is always advised that you speak with your doctor and ask for all kinds of questions that come to your mind. In this way, they can assist you in preparing for a brain angiogram. For people who are not aware of such a procedure and who aren’t accustomed to the demands of any medical test, preparation can be an overwhelming task. But once you clear your doubts, it would seem a much simpler uphill task.

For instance, you might not be allowed to eat or drink on the night before your angiogram date. The doctor might also restrict you from taking any medicines prior to the test because otherwise, it might increase your risk of internal bleeding. However, not always is this particular step necessary.

Keep Your Doctors Informed

In case you have allergic tendencies or certain medical conditions, make sure that you tell your doctor beforehand. Remember that many people are allergic to contrast materials that are used during the Angiogram procedure. Therefore, keep your doctor informed about your allergies. To keep your allergies at bay, your doctor might give you an anti-allergic medication.

You must also remember that certain medical conditions often increase a person’s risk of severe complications. For instance, people with diabetes and kidney diseases. Such a situation can temporarily impact your kidney. Before exposing yourself to radiation, make sure that you are not pregnant.

Risks Involved

There are rare cases when cerebral angiography poses risks for the person who undergoes the procedure. Here are the potential risks that you should be aware of:

  • Stroke: This happens when the catheter loosens plaque inside your blood vessel.
  • Blood Vessel damage: Damages to a blood vessel may happen in the form of an artery puncture.

Post Cerebral Angiography Period

Once the cerebral angiography procedure is completed, you’ll most probably be sent to a recovery space where you are bound to spend some hours before heading home. But once you reach home, restrict yourself from undergoing everyday household tasks. Stop lifting heavy items and don’t overexert yourself. Make sure that you don’t do a lot of movements, at least for the first week.

Just in case you experience any of the following symptoms, consider calling your doctor immediately-

  • Slurred speech
  • Weakness,
  • Numbness, or
  • Vision problems

The above-mentioned symptoms are the early signs of a stroke. Therefore, make sure that you don’t take the situations lightly. Also, look out for the signs mentioned below:

  • Redness and swelling at the catheter insertion site
  • Swelling of the leg
  • A cold feeling on the foot
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness

Depending on these signs, whether they are showing or not, your doctor would decide the next step for you.

Dr. Vikram Huded | Senior Consultant – Neurology | Mazumdar Shaw Medical Center, Bangalore

Narayana Health

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