What is cerebral angiography?
Cerebral angiography is a study of the blood circulation of the brain. It is performed under local anaesthesia.
A catheter (small tube) is placed into the artery of the groin and advanced into the arteries of the neck. An injection of contrast material through this catheter renders the study of the brain’s circulation possible.
Who performs the test?
The test is performed by a radiologist, assisted by trained nurses and X-ray technologists.
How long does it take?
The test itself can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 1.5 hours, depending on how many arteries are being examined.
What are the risks of the procedure?
The risks of this exam are limited and will be explained to you prior to signing the consent. The possibility of a permanent complication is less than 0.1%.
The evening before, or the morning of the test, the radiologist will come to explain the procedure, its indications and risks, so you can give an informed consent.
| If the exam is done BEFORE 12 noon, fasting (do not eat or drink) after midnight is required.
If it is done AFTER 12 noon, you may eat a light breakfast.
N.B. You may take some water if you need to take your medications.
BEFORE the test
- Hospital personnel will shave either your right or left groin or possibly both, and will start an intravenous in your arm to provide fluids.
- In the X-ray room, you will be safely positioned on a special table, and prepared for the examination. You will be asked if you have any history of asthma, hay fever or any other pertinent allergies.
- Your groin will be cleaned with an antiseptic solution. The area is then considered sterile, so you will be asked to keep both arms by your side, for the rest of the exam. You will be covered with sterile sheets from the upper chest to the feet. You should ask the nurse for assistance if you need to scratch your face or nose.
During the procedure
- The radiologist will freeze your skin to insert the catheter. You may feel a slight discomfort as the freezing is done.
- During the exam, the table will be moved either up, down or from side to side, and the X-ray machine may come very close to your face.
- After each artery has been entered with the catheter, X-rays are taken. During this time you will be asked to hold your breath for approximately 10 seconds. It is of utmost importance to follow these instructions: by holding your breath, the X-rays, like a camera, will produce very clear, precise images, thereby allowing for a better study.
- During the injection, you may experience a warm sensation in the head and a peculiar taste in your mouth. You may also experience pressure behind the eye, or you may see flashes of light. These are all normal sensations.
After the procedure
- Once the test is completed, the catheter is removed and pressure is applied at the puncture site for 10 to 15 minutes.
- You are required to stay in bed for 12 hours
- Keep your leg straight for 4 hours following the procedure (with permission to go to the bathroom after the first 4 hours).
- You can eat and drink, as indicated.
- Out patients will be released after 4 hours following the procedure and are expected to follow the same instructions.
- Remove the bandage covering the puncture site 24 hours after the procedure. You may have a bruise or small lump at the site, which usually disappears in a few days.
- Avoid strenuous exercise for the next 2 days. You may have a bath or a shower after the bandage has been removed. Your doctor will report the results of the procedure to you, after consultation with the radiologist.
If the puncture site should bleed, lie down and press firmly on the puncture site for 10 to 15 minutes. If the bleeding does not stop, call 911.
If your leg becomes cold, discoloured (changes colour), or numb go to the nearest hospital emergency department.
NB: If you are taking a medication called Glucophage (Metformin) contact the radiology department as soon as possible at (514) 398‑1910 and ask to speak to a nurse from 7h30 — 17h00, Monday to Friday.
Montreal Neurological Hospital
3801 University (corner of Pine Avenue)
5th floor, Montreal (Quebec), H3A 2B4
Tel.: (514) 398‑1910
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Information about InfoNEURO
Neuro-Patient Resource Centre
Montreal Neurological Hosptial Room 354
Tel: (514) 398‑5358
Web site: http://infoneuro.mcgill.ca/
This information is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to replace the advice of a professional healthcare practitioner, or to substitute for medical care.
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Made by Neuro-Patient Resource Centre.
Montreal Neurological Hospital.