- For noninvasive cerebral angiography:
- If MRI is used, your team will give you earplugs because the machine makes loud thumping and humming noises. Closed MRI machines are long cylinders, so your team may give you a mild sedative if you are claustrophobic. The procedure table will slide into the machine for the test.
- CT machines also have a tunnel, but it is much shorter than an MRI tunnel. The procedure table will slide into the machine for the test. Your team may ask you to briefly hold your breath during the imaging procedure.
- If a contrast agent is used, it will be administered through your IV. You may feel a sensation of warmth when the contrast agent is injected.
- For MRIs, it is very important for you to lie completely still during the entire procedure. Any movement may cause the images to be blurry and could result in the need to repeat the procedure. The MRI procedure takes about an hour.
- When the procedure is complete, you may be asked to wait until the radiologist verifies that the imaging is complete. A member of the angiography team will remove your IV.
Will I feel pain?
Your comfort and relaxation is very important to both you and your care team. You may feela pinch or pin prick painduring the IV placement, but the imaging itself is painless. For catheter cerebral angiography, you should expect that sufficient pain and sedative medications will be given to you so that you stay comfortable. Sedative medications may also be given for MRI procedures if you are claustrophobic. If you are uncomfortable in any way, tell a member of your healthcare team.
What are the risks and potential complications of cerebral angiography?
Complications after cerebral angiography are uncommon. However, any procedure involves risks and the possibility of complications that may become serious in some cases. Complications can develop during the procedure or throughout your recovery. Risks and potential complications of cerebral angiography include:
- Adverse reaction or problems related to sedation or contrast agents, such as an allergic reaction and problems with breathing
- Bleeding or clotting problems
- Damage to an artery from the catheter
- Exposure to ionizing radiation, which may be harmful in excessive doses
- Injury from metal objects in or on your body or in the room during an MRI
- Kidney injury from the contrast agent, especially if you have kidney disease
Reducing your risk of complications
You can reduce the risk of certain complications by:
- Ensuring that all members of your care team are aware of any allergies you have, especially to shellfish or iodine
- Following activity, dietary and lifestyle restrictions and recommendations before your procedure and during recovery
- Informing your doctor if you have any metal in your body, including screws, pins, plates, pacemakers, implants of any kind, intrauterine devices (IUDs), and bullet fragments
- Informing your doctor if you have kidney disease or diabetes
- Informing your doctor or technologist if you are nursing or there is any possibility that you may be pregnant
- Notifying your doctor immediately of any concerns, such as bleeding, fever, or increase in pain
- Removing all jewelry and metal objects and leaving them outside the MRI room. This includes glasses, credits cards, hair accessories, and removable dental work.
- Taking your medications exactly as directed
How do I prepare for my cerebral angiography?
You are a very important member of your own healthcare team. The steps you take before your procedure can improve your comfort level and help your doctor obtain the most accurate results. You can prepare yourself for cerebral angiography by:
- Answering all questions about your medical history and medications you take. This includes prescribed medications, over-the-counter drugs, herbal treatments, and vitamins. It is a good idea to carry a current list of your medical conditions, medications, and allergies at all times.
- Arranging for a ride home if sedation will be used during your cerebral angiography
- Following exactly any instructions about eating and drinking before cerebral angiography
- Leaving jewelry, metal objects, credit cards, and other valuables at home
- Taking or stopping medications exactly as directed. For catheter cerebral angiography, this may include not taking aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), and blood thinners. With certain types of contrast dyes, you should not take metformin (Glucophage) for 48 hours before and after your angiography. Your doctor will give you specific instructions about taking your medications.
© Copyright 2012 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. For specific medical advice, diagnoses and treatment, consult your doctor.