What Is a Carotid Angiography?
A carotid angiography is a healthcare diagnostic process that uses x-rays to evaluate a patient’s head and neck arteries for blockages, obstructions due to blood clots or plaque, aneurysms, and tumors. A carotid angiography takes up to two hours to complete. Recovery time can last up to eight hours.
Who Benefits from a Carotid Angiography?
People who have restricted blood flow in their arteries may experience symptoms that include unusual weakness, numbness and tingling sensations, severe headaches, dizziness, slurred speech, blurred vision, and loss of coordination.
Healthcare specialists determine whether or not a carotid angiography should be used for those having any of the symptoms described above. Patients who are pregnant, who have weak or unhealthy kidneys, who are diabetic, or who are unable to remain still and hold their breath during the test are not good candidates for the procedure.
How Is a Carotid Angiography Performed?
A patient preparing for a carotid angiography typically wears just a hospital gown and lies on his or her back on an x-ray table. The head is secured in place and a lead apron covers the pelvic area for protection from x-ray exposure. The healthcare specialist inserts an intravenous line (IV) into the patient’s arm for the intake of fluids and medications. The patient’s blood oxygen is monitored by a pulse oximeter attached to the patient’s ear or finger. Electrodes that monitor the patient’s heart rate are placed on his or her chest, arm, or legs. After an area in the groin or above the elbow is cleansed and anesthetized, a catheter is inserted and guided to the portion of the blood vessel to be examined. Special dye is injected through the catheter into the blood vessel and a series of x-rays are rapidly taken. The patient must lie very still so the images will be clear. Upon completion of the carotid angiography, the catheter is removed and the entry site is bandaged.