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Brain Aneurysm and Cerebral Angiography

by | Jul 5, 2023

A brain aneurysm can be diagnosed and evaluated through the use of cerebral angiography, a specialized imaging technique that provides detailed visualization of the brain’s blood vessels.

Male sculptor repairing gypsum sculpture of head

Understanding Cerebral Angiography with Brain Aneurysm Specialist, Dr. Manish Taneja 

Brain aneurysms can affect anyone and at any age. If your doctor thinks you have the condition, they will order some tests to help them make an accurate diagnosis. Oftentimes, a procedure known as cerebral angiography will be used to obtain details about the condition of your arteries and check for an aneurysm. If you have symptoms of a brain aneurysm, you need to learn a few things about cerebral angiography. That way, you will know what to expect, make informed decisions and prepare better for the procedure.

Here’s what to know.

What is Cerebral Angiography?

Cerebral angiography, or cerebral angiogram, is an imaging test used to identify or confirm problems with blood vessels in and around the brain. The catheter-based exam uses a special contrast dye and X-rays to examine blood vessels and check blood flow.

What It Diagnoses in Brain Aneurysm 

By visualizing blood vessels, this procedure can help to diagnose a brain aneurysm. Through the images that the test makes, your doctor will not only be able to detect the presence of an aneurysm but also establish its exact location, size and shape. 

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Aneurysm post can help you learn about the causes, symptoms, and treatments for this potentially life-threatening condition.

Why a Doctor May Order a Cerebral Angiogram

Cerebral angiography can reveal a wide range of abnormalities in your blood vessels. Your doctor can order the test if they need more information to plan your treatment. A cerebral angiogram may be necessary:

•    If you have signs and symptoms of a bulging, narrowing or blocked blood vessel
•    In case of bleeding in the brain and other abnormalities of blood vessels
•    To check other symptoms such as unusual headaches
•    When previous tests do not provide conclusive information
•    To evaluate your arteries before surgery. This can go a long way towards minimizing complications

We offer cerebral angiogram and follow-up care as well as the latest brain aneurysm treatment options at our specialized brain aneurysm clinic at Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic in Singapore.

Common Uses of a Cerebral Angiogram

Cerebral angiograms are commonly used for the following purposes:

1. Diagnosis of Brain Conditions: Cerebral angiography is an important diagnostic tool for various brain conditions, including:

  • Brain Aneurysms: It helps identify abnormal bulges in blood vessels that could potentially rupture.
  • Arteriovenous Malformations (AVMs): It helps visualize tangles of abnormal blood vessels.
  • Stroke: It can reveal blockages or narrowing of blood vessels that may cause a stroke.
  • Tumors: It helps identify blood supply patterns to brain tumors.
  • Vascular Abnormalities: It can detect abnormalities such as blood vessel narrowing, dilation, or irregularities.
  • Vascular Dissection: A tear in the wall of an artery.
  • A blood clot

2. Treatment Planning:

  • Cerebral angiograms provide detailed information about the blood vessels in the brain, which is crucial for planning treatment options.
  • They help guide surgical interventions, endovascular procedures (e.g., embolization), and radiation therapy.
  • To prepare for minimally invasive treatments of a vessel abnormality

3. Evaluation of Blood Flow and Perfusion:

  • Cerebral angiography allows the assessment of blood flow and perfusion in the brain.
  • It helps identify areas of reduced blood flow or abnormal patterns, aiding in the evaluation of ischemic stroke or vascular disorders.

4. Follow-up Assessments:

After certain interventions (e.g., aneurysm coiling or AVM embolization), cerebral angiograms may be performed to evaluate the success of the procedure and monitor the condition over time.

The Difference Between MRI and Angiogram

A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan uses a magnetic field and radio waves to generate 3D images of the body. On the other hand, an angiogram involves placing a catheter into the body, and uses a contrast agent and X-rays to create detailed pictures of blood vessels. Dr. Manish Taneja has been performing catheter angiograms since 1995 and has a wealth of experience in treating vascular and nonvascular disorders.

What Happens When the Brain Bleeds?

When an aneurysm ruptures, blood spills into the surrounding brain tissue, disrupting vital functions and causing potential damage. The consequences can range from temporary impairment to permanent disability or even death.

The specific location of the aneurysm determines the affected area and the potential consequences. Common sites of brain aneurysms include the circle of Willis, a crucial arterial structure at the base of the brain, and the cerebral arteries.

Preparation

Before an angiogram, your doctor will explain how the procedure works and take time to answer any questions you may have. Be sure to tell your provider if you:

•    Think you are pregnant
•    Have a history of bleeding disorders
•    Have any allergies or sensitivities
•    Take medicines that are blood thinners
•    Have kidney function problems
•    Have recently had any illnesses or medical conditions

Your doctor will guide you on how to prepare for the procedure. This may include:

•    Reviewing your medical history and conducting a physical examination
•    Refraining from eating or drinking anything about six to eight hours before the test
•    Stop taking medications that could increase the risk of bleeding

The Procedure

A cerebral angiogram is typically done in a hospital or surgery center. The procedure usually involves the following steps:

1.    Preparation: The healthcare team will ask you to remove all jewelry and clothing. You will then put on a hospital gown and lie on the procedure table.
2.    Local and intravenous anesthesia: A local anesthetic is applied where the incision will be made to numb the area. This is followed by intravenous sedation.
3.    Catheter insertion: Your surgeon will make a small incision in the skin. Next, they will insert a small tube known as a catheter through the incision and thread it through blood vessels to the brain.
4.    Contrast dye injection: Once the catheter has been positioned, the surgeon injects the contrast dye through the catheter. The dye highlights any problems and abnormalities along the blood vessels.
5.    Imaging: As the dye travels through the blood vessels, the healthcare professionals will take X-ray images of the blood vessels in the brain.
6.    Catheter removal: When the procedure is complete, the catheter is removed. To stop any bleeding, the healthcare professionals will apply pressure to the insertion site.

The whole procedure can take about one hour to complete.

Benefits and Risks

A cerebral angiogram has many benefits. Below are a few.

•    The procedure provides very clear and detailed pictures of the brain’s vascular system. This makes it easier to identify abnormalities and make an accurate diagnosis.
•    Cerebral angiography is a minimally-invasive procedure that uses a catheter. This allows doctors to combine diagnosis and treatment in a single procedure.
•    This procedure eliminates the need for incisional surgery. It also provides enough information in case surgery is required.
•    Compared to other noninvasive imaging of blood vessels, the results from this procedure are more accurate.

For all the benefits associated with cerebral angiography, the procedure is not without some risks. Overall, the risk is less than 1% but they include:

•    There is a slight risk of an allergic reaction to the contrast dye
•    There may be bleeding or a blood clot can form at the insertion area
•    The catheter can puncture the artery, leading to internal bleeding

    Follow Up After Your Cerebral Angiography

    Follow up care is a critical part of your treatment and safety. After the procedure, ensure you go to all your appointments and take all the medicines that may be given. Also, monitor the insertion site for redness, swelling and bleeding. Similarly, monitor your limbs for changes in color, change in temperature, numbness, tingling, pain and loss of function. Contact your provider if you notice any of the following symptoms:

    •    Excessive redness, pain, swelling, drainage or bleeding from the injection site
    •    Numbness or muscle weakness
    •    Fever or chills
    •    Dizziness
    •    Changes in speech or vision
    •    Difficulty breathing
    •    Chest pain

    Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic Cerebral Angiography Services 

    Here at Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic, we will treat your brain aneurysm through cerebral angiogram diagnosis and ensure you get proper care to improve your quality of life. For more information, fill in and submit your contact information and inquiry details on the contact us page.

    Consult a Specialist for Your Brain Aneurysm or Stroke

    Dr. Manish Taneja, a certified neurointervention and brain aneurysm specialist based in Singapore, has extensive experience in cerebral angiogram diagnosis. He has special interest in treating aneurysms using the latest advanced techniques. Come in for a further evaluation. Arrange an appointment.

     

    Dr. Manish Taneja performing surgery

    Brain Aneurysm Resources

    Discover brain aneurysm resources that go beyond the basics designed for patients. Understand the meaning of  a brain aneurysm condition, the causes, symptoms, signs, and more. Connect with your brain health.

    Put Brain Aneurysm on Your Health Radar

    Did you experience the worst headache of your life? Could it be a brain aneurysm that ruptures, which means bleeding in the brain? Thoughts could be racing through your mind. Then what is the difference between unruptured (a weak or thin spot on an artery in the brain that balloons) or ruptured brain aneurysm? If you’re wondering, then the Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic is here to help. It’s important to look out for the tell-tale brain aneurysm symptoms, signs, causes, and risk factors.

    Dr. Manish Taneja has been performing brain aneurysm treatments since 1995 from surgical clipping to latest minimally invasive procedures. Each patient is unique as is the size and location of the aneurysm. Your brain has different conditions to treat the aneurysm and artery vessel walls of a blood vessel in the brain. This calls for personalised brain aneurysm treatment depending on your symptoms, family, history, medication, and more. A simple CT scan could be just what the doctor ordered and the first step in early detection and prevention of a brain aneurysm. Come in for an easy consultation with our brain aneurysm specialist in Singapore to be on your health radar.

    Other Health Conditions

    The Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic is your “go-to” facility for various conditions and treatments. To arrange an appointment with Dr. Manish Taneja, our neurointervention specialist, contact us. You can also call us at (+65) 6904 8084 for a consultation.