A cerebral angiogram is a type of x-ray. A dye highlights the blood vessels in the brain. The dye can also show the flow of blood.
The x-ray checks for problems with blood vessels such as:
The test can also:
Problems are rare, but most tests have some risk. Your doctor will review problems that may happen, such as:
The risk of problems is higher if you:
Leading up to the test:
Tell your doctor if you are or may be pregnant. The dye may be harmful to your baby.
Local anesthesia will numb an area where the needle is placed.
A cut is made in the upper leg or wrist. A thin tube is passed through the cut into a large blood vessel. An x-ray machine will send constant images to a monitor in the room. The doctor will be able to see the tube and nearby blood vessels. The tube is passed through blood vessels to the area in the brain that needs to be checked. A dye will be released through the tube. It will highlight nearby vessels. The doctor will also be able to see where blood is flowing or blocked.
When the doctor is done, the tube is taken out. Pressure is applied to the area until it stops bleeding. A bandage is placed over the cut.
1 to 3 hours
You may feel:
You will have some soreness for a few days after the procedure.
You will have to lie flat for a few hours. The care staff will help to manage pain and watch for problems until you can leave.
During your stay, the care team will take steps to lower your chance of infection such as:
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chances of infection such as:
Most can return to a normal routine the day after the test.
Call your doctor if any of these occur:
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
American Stroke Association
Society for Vascular Surgery
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Cerebral angiogram. Beaumont Hospitals website. Available at: https://www.beaumont.org/treatments/cerebral-angiogram. Accessed July 20, 2020.
Cerebral angiography. Patient website. Available at: https://patient.info/brain-nerves/cerebral-angiography. Accessed July 20, 2020.
Cerebral angiography. Radiology Info—Radiological Society of North America website. Available at: https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=angiocerebral. Accessed July 20, 2020.
Cerebral (brain) angiogram. NYU Langone Health website. Available at: https://med.nyu.edu/radiology/about-us/subspecialties/neuro-interventional/our-services/patient-information-brain-angiogram. Accessed July 20, 2020.
Last reviewed July 2020 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Last Updated: 7/20/2020