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Cerebral angiography under general anaesthetic

You have been told that your child needs a cerebral angiogram and the aim of this advice is to give you basic information about what is involved in this procedure.

What is cerebral angiogram?

A cerebral angiogram is an X-ray investigation which shows the blood vessels in your child’s brain. A special dye is injected into an artery in your child’s groin through a fine tube. The dye travels up the artery and fills the blood vessels within the brain, making them show up clearly on X-ray pictures. Your child will be given a general anaesthetic for the procedure, so they will be asleep and not feel anything.

Cerebral angiograms are most commonly used to investigate abnormal blood vessels in the brain known as arterial-venous malformations (AVM).

Why does my child need a cerebral angiogram?

Your child’s doctor needs detailed images of the blood vessels within your child’s brain in order to plan and carry out the most appropriate treatment for their condition. Other tests such as an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan or a CT (computed tomography) scan may also be necessary to help the doctors plan your child’s care.

What will happen when we are in hospital?

The procedure itself takes place at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital (RHH), but your child’s treatment before and after will take place at Sheffield Children’s hospital. When you arrive, the nurses and doctors will need to check your child’s details, medical history and assess if your child is fit for the procedure. The doctors may need to take a small blood sample.

It is important that your child has an empty stomach during the treatment. You will be given instructions on when your child can and cannot eat and drink.

The procedure

A nurse will take you and your child to RHH in a taxi or ambulance.

Your child will be given a general anaesthetic by the anaesthetist and you will be asked to leave so that the radiologists and radiographers can get your child ready to start the angiogram. A dedicated children’s nurse will be with your child throughout the procedure.

When the angiogram is complete and your child is waking up, you will be able to join them again. Once they are ready, they will be brought to Sheffield Children’s by an ambulance.

After the angiogram

Your child will have a small wound in their groin. This will have a dressing on which needs to stay in place and kept dry for 48 hours.

After the procedure your child will need to lie flat for 2 hours. Then they will be allowed to sit up in bed for an hour and then sit in a chair for an hour, before being allowed to walk around. This is to help prevent any bleeding from the wound in their groin. The nurse looking after your child will let you know when they can sit up and move around.

Discharge and follow up

The length of time a child will have to stay in hospital for this procedure varies depending on the child’s condition. Some children can be discharged home the same day, however others need to stay overnight. The doctors will decide what is best for your child. Be prepared to stay overnight. If your child does need to stay, there is space for one parent or carer to sleep at the bedside.

It is a good idea to have some paracetamol ready at home should your child need any pain relief after discharge.

The results of the angiogram are usually discussed with you in a clinic appointment with your child’s doctor. You will receive a letter with the time and date of this following discharge.

Glossary

Anaesthetist

The doctor who puts your child to sleep using a general anaesthetic.

Angiogram

A procedure where X-rays are used to examine your child’s arteries and veins. A special dye is used so that the blood vessels show up clearly on X-ray pictures.

Arterial-venous malformation

A collection of abnormal blood vessels within the brain.

General anaesthetic

Medicine used to put your child to sleep so they can not hear or feel anything. The drug can be inhaled from a mask or injected into a vein.

MRI

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). A scanning machine that gives detailed pictures of your child’s brain.

Radiographer

A technician trained to take pictures using X-ray, CT scanners and MRI scanners.

Radiologist

A doctor who specialises in diagnosing and treating disease using imaging techniques such as ultrasound, MRI scans, CT scans and angiograms.

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Disclaimer

Please note this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s. The details in this resource may not necessarily reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If you have specific questions about how this resource relates to your child, please ask your doctor.

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S10 2TH

United Kingdom

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