Cerebral angiography is a diagnostic test used to view blood vessels in the head and neck. It involves the injection of a special dye into the blood vessels and X-ray imaging.
A small, flexible tube called a catheter is inserted into an artery, usually in the groin. Fluoroscopy (X-ray video) is used to guide the catheter through the carotid and vertebral arteries in the neck. Once the catheter is in place, the contrast agent is injected. X-ray images are taken for eight to 12 seconds as the dye circulates through the arteries, capillaries, and veins in the head and neck.
Cerebral angiography may be used to diagnose the following conditions:
- Blood clot
- Blood vessel abnormality (vascular malformation)
- Blood vessel inflammation (vasculitis)
- Narrowing of the arteries
You may be a good candidate for cerebral angiography if your doctor suspects that your symptoms could be caused by a cerebrovascular disorder. However, you may not be a good candidate if you have impaired kidney function, have had a previous allergic reaction to a contrast agent, or have a history of bleeding problems.
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- Date of last review: December 28, 2016