Angiograms are performed by interventional radiologists (IR). Angiography is an X-ray exam of the arteries and veins to diagnose blockages and other blood vessel problems. A cerebral angiogram is an X-ray of the blood vessels in your brain.
During an angiogram, the doctor inserts a thin tube (catheter) into the artery through a small nick in the skin (usually femoral artery) about the size of the tip of a pencil. A substance called a contrast agent (X-ray dye) is injected to make the blood vessels visible on the X-ray. You do not feel the catheter going through your body; you may feel a flushing sensation as the dye is injected, this will only last a few seconds.
You will be asked to lie very still while your doctor gets the pictures he needs. At times you will be asked to hold your breath while a picture is being taken; this does not last longer than a few seconds.
Your doctor can treat a blocked blood vessel or a bulge (aneurysm) without surgery; this will be scheduled for another time as you may receive’ general anesthesia to ensure you do not move during this procedure. Techniques called angioplasty (balloon catheter), stent (a metal tube placed in the blocked area), and thrombolysis (clot-busting medication), and many more are all tools your doctor has for treatment. If this is the case you will be admitted over night to the ICU for observation.