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Lesson 21. Cerebral Angiography


a. A cerebral angiogram is a radiographic examination of the cerebral vasculature after injection of a contrast medium. Common injection sites are the carotid, brachial, and femoral arteries.

b. Diagnostic uses for cerebral angiography.

(1) To detect cerebrovascular abnormalities.
(2) To study vascular displacement caused by tumor, hematoma, edema, arterial spasm, or increased intracranial pressure.
(3) To locate surgical clips applied to blood vessels during surgery and to evaluate the postoperative status of the vessels.

c. Nursing implications.

(1) Review the patient's clinical record to determine the reason (purpose) for the specific patient's scheduled cerebral angiography and what the patient has been told about the procedure.
(2) Check the patient's medication history for hypersensitivity to iodine, seafoods, or the dyes used for other local tests, and report significant findings to the Professional Nurse.
(3) Approach and identify the patient.
(4) Interview the patient to determine his/her knowledge of the purpose of the cerebral antiography procedure.
(5) As indicated, explain to the patient the specific purpose of the cerebral angiography in his/her situation. Explain purpose in a manner consistent with that offered by the physician to avoid confusing the patient.
(6) Explain to the patient events that will occur prior to the cerebral angiography procedure.
(a) Patient will be required to fast 8-10 hours before test.
(b) All jewelry, dentures, and hair pins will be removed and placed in safekeeping.
(c) Patient will wear a hospital gown.
(d) Patient will be asked to empty his/her bladder prior to the procedure.
(e) Patient (or responsible family member) must sign a consent form.
(f)   The test will take approximately two hours.
(g) If ordered, medication such as a sedative may be administered prior to the test.
(7) Explain to the patient events that will occur during the cerebral angiography procedure.
(a) Patient will be transported to the x-ray department.
(b) The patient will be placed in a supine position on the x-ray table and asked to remain still.
(c) Contrast medium will be injected intravenously.
(d) The patient may experience a transient burning sensation at the injection site during the injection.
(e) The patient may become flushed, warm, or nauseated after injection of the contrast medium. A transient headache or salty taste in the mouth may also be experienced.
(8) Explain to the patient events, which will occur after the cerebral angiography.
(a) Patient will be returned to his/her room.
(b) Physician will report the results of the cerebral angiography test to the patient, when they are available.

(9) Document the completion of the examination and the patient's return to the nursing unit.

David L. Heiserman, Editor

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Revised: June 06, 2015