Carotid Angiography

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Carotid angiography is performed in the Cardiac Catheterization Lab at New Hanover Regional Medical Center. This lab is specially designed for diagnosing and treating heart and vascular problems. Our highly skilled team is experienced in performing minimally invasive, cutting-edge diagnostic and treatment procedures.

Advanced Technology

We use leading-edge equipment and techniques that enable us to perform procedures in the least invasive manner possible. Benefits of minimally invasive techniques often include faster recovery, less risk of complications, and less pain.

What Is Carotid Angiography?

Carotid angiography is a diagnostic procedure that shows how your blood flows through the arteries that provide blood to your brain (carotid arteries). The procedure uses a special contrast dye and X-ray imaging to look for narrowed or blocked areas in your arteries that can lead to stroke.

What to Expect

Learn about the details of your procedure, what to expect after, and what happens if a blockage is found.

What to Expect During Your Procedure

You will remain awake during this procedure. However, you will receive a sedative to help you relax and an injection to numb the puncture site. Your surgeon inserts a catheter (thin, flexible tube) into a vessel in your arm, leg, or groin area. Using X-ray imaging, your surgeon guides the catheter through your vessels to the arteries in your neck (carotid arteries).

Once in place, a contrast dye is injected through the catheter. X-rays can track if the dye encounters blockages in the carotid arteries.

What to Expect After Your Procedure

Once your doctors get the information they need, they will remove the catheter and apply pressure to the puncture site for about 10-15 minutes. You will need to lay with your leg straight for 4-6 hours after the procedure.

What If a Blockage Is Found?

If your carotid angiogram shows that you have a narrowed or blocked carotid artery, your surgeon may recommend a procedure to help restore blood flow, such as endarterectomy (surgery to remove plaque) or carotid angioplasty and stenting.

Carotid angioplasty is a minimally invasive procedure that uses a balloon attached to the end of a catheter. Once the catheter is in place, the balloon is inflated to widen the artery and a stent (mesh tube) is placed to hold the artery open.