A carotid angiogram is a test to look at
the large blood vessels in your neck that carry blood to your brain. These are called carotid
arteries. The doctor puts a thin, flexible tube (catheter) into a blood vessel
in your groin. Or the doctor may put the catheter in a blood vessel in your arm
or shoulder. You may have this test to see if a carotid artery is
During the procedure, the doctor moves the catheter through
the blood vessel into your neck. Then he or she injects a dye into the
catheter. The dye flows into the blood vessel. A picture of your carotid artery
shows up on a video screen. The doctor can look at the screen to see any blockage or narrowing of
If your carotid artery is blocked, the doctor may do an
angioplasty. The doctor uses a catheter with a tiny balloon at the tip. He or
she puts it into the blocked area and inflates it. The balloon presses the
fatty buildup (plaque) against the walls of the artery. This makes more room
for blood to flow. In most cases, the doctor then puts a stent in the artery. A
stent is a small, mesh tube that presses against the walls of the artery.
The stent is left in the artery. It keeps it open and helps blood flow. The
stent also may keep small pieces of plaque from breaking off and causing a
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and
call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your
test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Procedures can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you
can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your procedure.
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
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Current as of:
June 4, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Howard Schaff, MD - Diagnostic Radiology
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