Catheter Angiography

Cerebral angiography involves insertion of a catheter into the arterial system, injection of iodinated contrast agents into the cerebral circulation, and rapid acquisition of plane radiographs of the head. Vascular anatomy is demonstrated clearly using this technique, which is the gold standard for defining cerebrovascular anatomy. Aneurysms, AVMs, angiomas, and other vascular malformations are detected and classified. Arterial narrowing due to atherosclerosis, vasculitis, vasospasm, arterial dissection, or external compression is visualized. Microvascular disease may not be evident. The risk of complications is approximately 1 in 10,000, and catheter angiography is being utilized less frequently for routine diagnosis as MRA becomes available. Instead, catheter angiography is increasingly restricted to those situations in which interventional radiology procedures or surgery may be needed.

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