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Angiogram is a minimally invasive test that uses a special contrast solution (dye) and imaging technology to map the arterior veins in a part of your child's body. A cerebral angiogram maps the blood vessels in the brain. It is performed by a specially trained doctor called an interventional radiologist or a neurointerventional radiologist.
Darren B. Orbach, MD, PhD, Neurointerventional Radiologist at Boston Children's Hospital, explains the process of a cerebral angiogram and the role of image guidance and catheters.
How Boston Children’s Hospital approaches angiograms
Angiography and cerebral angiography in children is different than in adults, because children have smaller and more delicate blood vessels. Our physicians are highly trained in using the specialized techniques and small catheters necessary for performing angiograms in children.
In addition to the radiologist, your child will be cared for by a team of anesthesiologists, nurse practitioners, nurses, and technologists who specialize in caring for children undergoing interventional radiology procedures and treatments.
We perform angiograms in a suite, which features three procedure rooms equipped with the latest imaging technology, a recovery area for patients who have received sedation or anesthesia, and examining rooms for outpatient visits.
When is a cerebral angiogram needed?
How should I prepare my child for the procedure?
What will happen before the cerebral angiogram?
What will happen during the procedure?
How will I learn the results?
Is it safe?
When is an angiogram needed?
Angiograms are used to investigate conditions, such as stroke, tumors, bleeding, vascular malformations and high blood pressure.
How should I prepare my child for the angiogram?
Explain to your child in simple terms why the test is needed and what will happen. You can say that you will be close by and that she may bring a favorite toy or blanket into the procedure room.
Some children need to come to the pre-operative clinic for lab tests and exams by a nurse, anesthesiologist and nurse practitioner. Please allow two to four hours for the preoperative visit.
What will happen before the angiogram?
A staff person from the hospital will call you a few days before the procedure with preparation instructions that will include dietary restriction necessary for sedation or anesthesia. It is very important that you follow all of these instructions, or the procedure may need to be rescheduled. When you arrive at the hospital:
What happens during the angiogram?
How will I learn the results?
The radiologist will speak with you after the procedure and explain the findings and results.
Is it safe?
Angiograms are considered minor surgical procedures. Angiograms are generally safe, but as with any surgical procedure, carry some risk of complication. The doctor will explain potential side effects and complications before you are asked to consent to the procedure.
During angiography, your child will be exposed to ionizing radiation (x-rays). While we strive to minimize exposure to x-rays, we believe that the benefit to your child's health outweighs the exposure that occurs during the angiogram. Because children are more sensitive to radiation exposure than adults, we have been leaders in adjusting equipment and procedures to deliver the lowest possible dose to young patients.
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