Cerebral Arteriopathies in Children | Diagnosis & Treatment

How are cerebral arteriopathies diagnosed?

If a physician suspects your child has a cerebral arteriopathy, they may use a number of imaging tests to get detailed images of your child's blood vessels and brain tissue. Tests can include:

  • CT angiography (CTA), which uses x-ray equipment and powerful computers to create cross-sectional images (often called "slices") of the head, neck and brain. CTA uses a special dye (known as contrast) that is injected into a vein. A computer generates detailed 3-D images of the blood vessels.
  • Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA), which visualizes blood vessels in the brain, head and neck, but without the need for x-rays. Unlike CTA, many MRA scans can be done without injecting a dye into the veins to generate images of the vessels. The Stroke and Cerebrovascular Center also collaborates with the hospital's Division of Neuroradiology on special MRI vascular imaging scans that look for evidence of inflammation in the vessel walls of brain arteries. If found, this can then be treated.
  • Catheter angiography, which is done under general anesthesia. A catheter (a flexible tube about the width of spaghetti) is placed directly into the child's arteries. The catheter is used to inject a special dye, known as contrast, allowing us to get more detailed images.

How are cerebral arteriopathies treated?

Treatment depends on the specific type of cerebral arteriopathy your child has but can include:

  • medications to help prevent blood clots
  • minimally invasive surgical techniques to remove clots or repair blood vessel abnormalities
  • medicines to treat inflammation and infection
  • rehabilitation if your child has experienced a stroke