Carotid angiogram is a radiographic image of the carotid arteries that supply blood to your brain. Carotid angiography is performed to locate areas of blockage or narrowing in the carotid artery when reduced blood circulation to the brain is suspected, such as with a stroke. It can also help determine if treatment is needed and the risk of having a future stroke.
To perform a carotid angiogram, local anesthesia is injected in the groin area. A small incision is made and a needle is inserted, through which a guide wire is passed. A catheter is then threaded over the guide wire and placed at the arch of the aorta (where an artery supplies blood to the head region). Radiographic imaging helps guide the catheter to the aorta. Once in position, contrast media is injected through the catheter, which passes through the circulation to the carotid artery. X-ray images are then obtained of the contrast media. On completion, the catheter is withdrawn and pressure is applied to the insertion site to stop bleeding.
As with all invasive procedures, carotid angiogram may be associated with certain complications such as hematoma (blood collection), bruise at the insertion site and stroke (rare).