Carotid Angiography

Treating Cardiovascular Diseases in Wisconsin and Northern Illinois

Carotid angiography, also called an arteriogram, is an invasive imaging procedure that helps doctors evaluate your carotid and cerebral arteries. Carotid arteries are the major arteries on the sides of your neck and your cerebral arteries are in your head. Both types of arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to your brain.

As people age, plaque can build up in your carotid arteries, causing them to harden and narrow. If too much plaque builds up in a carotid artery, it can lead to a stroke. 

Carotid angiography is generally performed when carotid artery disease is suspected, usually based on the results of noninvasive tests. Doctors use carotid angiography to:

  • Evaluate or confirm the presence of plaque in your carotid arteries
  • Assess your stroke risk
  • Determine your need for further treatment
  • Perform minimally invasive treatments, such as angioplasty and stenting, to open a blocked carotid artery

What To Expect During A Carotid Angiography

You will wear a hospital gown and be covered with a sterile sheet while you lie on a table. The room will be dimly lit. A large camera and several TV monitors will hang above the table.

You will receive a mild sedative to help you relax. However, you will remain awake and conscious during the procedure so your doctor can ask you questions and watch your brain function. Electrodes (small, sticky patches) will be placed on your chest and attached to an electrocardiograph monitor (EKG) to chart your heart’s electrical activity. A doctor will numb the site where your catheter will be inserted. 

Please tell your doctor or nurse if you experience any of the following during the procedure:

  • Itchiness or tightness in your throat
  • Nausea
  • Chest discomfort
  • Vision problems
  • Any other unusual symptoms

The carotid angiography takes about an hour to perform. However, you are likely to spend much of the day at the hospital. Many people stay over night during their recovery. 

Before and After Carotid Angiography

To prepare for this exam, your doctor is likely to ask you to stop taking blood thinner medication will give you specific instructions about what you can or cannot eat or drink before the procedure.

Instructions vary following the procedure. You will need to be on bed rest for several hours.You may or may not be able to return home the day of your procedure and when you do return home, arrange for someone to drive you. Your doctor will advise you on what diet, medications and activities you can resume afterward. 

Leading Midwest Cardiovascular Program

Aurora is known for providing one of the best cardiovascular programs in the United States. Our hospitals and medical centers have state-of-the art cardiac catheterization laboratories with digital imaging to help our doctors make the most accurate diagnosis and offer the least invasive treatment options regarding carotid artery disease.

We have the largest cardiac teaching program in Wisconsin, which puts us in a unique position to access the most recent technologies for diagnosing and treating heart disease.

Our coordinated care includes access to outstanding doctors and services for preventing, diagnosing and treating heart conditions and disorders. We offer a full-service rehab program to ensure your optimal recovery.

Our doctors are conveniently located throughout eastern Wisconsin and northeastern Illinois. Find a doctor or heart specialist near you. To get a second opinion or if you need assistance finding a provider, please call 888-649-6892.