What is a carotid angiogram?

You have two carotid arteries, the major blood vessels which supply blood to the brain, the neck, and the face. A carotid angiogram is an advanced X-ray (fluoroscopy) test to discover any medical issues. A contrast dye is injected into the vein, which allows the condition of the arteries to become visible.

What is it like to undergo a carotid angiogram?

At Advanced Surgical Technology in Mt. Vernon and Centralia, a carotid angiogram is performed in a manner to ensure your comfort, with a local anesthetic administered before the test. Once the area is numbed, a catheter is inserted into the vein in your arm, shoulder, or groin. The catheter is then moved until it reaches the carotid artery, at which point the dye is injected. The dye allows the carotid artery structure to be viewed on a video screen to diagnose cerebrovascular disease and conditions. You will need to arrange for another adult to drive you home after your test, as you will have been under mild anesthesia for your comfort. The test takes about 90 minutes to complete.

Why is a diagnostic carotid angiogram performed?

A diagnostic carotid angiogram can be performed in-office at Advanced Surgical Technology. This test may be ordered to determine the source of the symptoms you are experiencing, which could include dizziness, lack of balance, memory or speech problems, confusion, severe headache, numbness on one side of the body, or other symptoms that could indicate a narrowing or obstruction in the carotid artery.

Benefits of undergoing a carotid angiogram

A carotid angiogram can provide several benefits:

  • It may reveal that surgery is unnecessary
  • It can provide a detailed view of the structure of the blood vessels to the face and brain
  • It can reveal structural abnormalities in the artery
  • It can help you avoid serious health problems

Preparing for a carotid angiogram

At Advanced Surgical Technology, we will perform a full medical workup before your test.

Certain medications and supplements that thin the blood may need to be stopped to reduce the risk of excess bleeding.

You will be asked to stop eating and drinking as ordered by our doctor, and you will be provided pre-test instructions to follow carefully. We provide personalized guidance and care before, during, and following your carotid angiogram test. Before your test, bathe, but do not apply any lotions, cosmetics, or deodorant.

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Is there a recovery time after a carotid angiogram?

If the catheter is inserted in the groin, you will need to lie still for several hours before being released. If it is placed in your arm, you will be able to get up but must keep the arm still for at least one hour. It is normal to have a small lump or bruise whether the catheter was inserted, which will fade away within a few days. You will need to avoid strenuous activities for several days.

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