CT Angiogram Extracranial-Neck-Carotid
CT angiogram of the neck is performed to visualize the carotid arteries and their branches, which are the chief blood vessels that carry blood to your brain and are located on either side of the neck. This test implies using intravenous contrast dye injection and a CT scan to look for any blockage due to atherosclerotic plaque or narrowing of the carotids that can hinder the blood flow to the brain, causing a stroke.
Why and when do you need this test?
Your doctor may advise this test if you have risk factors associated with plaque formation. Or you show signs and symptoms of an impending stroke like TIA (transient ischemic stroke). This test can identify the blockages or other abnormalities (narrowing, dilatation) of the blood vessels supplying brain tissue causing your symptoms.
This test may be performed for the following reasons;
- Previous or current stroke (disruption of blood supply to the brain tissue)
- Transient ischemic attack (TIA)
- Severe headaches
- Family history of heart disease or stroke
- Problems with the consciousness
- Vision problems (decreased vision, blurring, or double vision)
- Weakness or numbness
- Inability to maintain balance
- Loss of coordination
- Findings in the physical examination, for example, bruit (a whooshing sound in the blood flow)
- To assess the position of the stent after the surgery for plaque removal
Do you need to prepare for the test?
- You will receive clear instructions regarding eating and drinking before the test.
- Due to the use of contrast, you will be requested to stop eating 3-4 hours before the test.
- You will be encouraged to drink clear fluids and take regular medications normally unless your doctor advises otherwise.
- You should not be wearing any metallic objects like jewelry, watches, or metal clips as they can interfere with the radiation and may affect the image.
- Wear an article of easy clothing, or you will be given a hospital gown to be changed into.
- The use of X-rays in the CT scan is dangerous for the developing baby, so inform the doctor if you are pregnant.
- The contrast used for the procedure may have iodine and can cause some allergic reactions or endanger a diseased kidney. Inform your doctor if you have had an allergic reaction to iodine, are diabetic, or have kidney disease.
What can you expect?
- The nurse will prick a vein in your hand or arm to establish a cannula to inject the contrast material.
- You would be requested to lie down on the table and avoid movements to prevent the images from getting blurry.
- The table will slide into the CT scan machine that looks like a large donut with a tunnel.
- The test will last for about 15-20 minutes.
- You may feel a warm flush in your body and a metallic taste in the mouth during the contrast injection, but it will go away soon.
- You may resume your daily activities after the test
- You will be advised to drink plenty of water to flush the contrast out of your body.
Are there any risks to this test?
This test is dangerous for pregnant ladies due to the use of X-rays.
The contrast material used can be harmful to patients with kidney disease.
The contrast material may cause some allergic reactions, but fortunately, they are easily controlled with the help of medications.
The metformin medicine taken by diabetic people may interact with the contrast agent.
What do the test results mean?
A radiologist will send a signed report to your doctor, who will be able to describe your test results. The abnormal results may or may not include the following;
- Atherosclerotic plaques in the carotid
- Presence of blood clots
- Vessel aneurysm (dilatation)
- Stenosis of a vessel (narrowing),
- Inflammation of the carotids (vasculitis)
- A tear in the lining of the carotid or its branches (dissection),
- Structural malformations,
- Presence of emboli,
Other related tests may include:
- Doppler carotid
- Carotid angiogram
- MRI scan neck
- CT scan of the neck
Frequently ordered together
CT Angiogram-Abdominal Aorta and Pelvis
CT Angiogram Thoracic Aorta and Chest
CT Neck without Contrast
CT Neck with Contrast
MRI Neck without Contrast
MR Angiography Neck with Contrast
CT Neck With & Without Contrast
MR Angioram Carotid without Contrast
MR Angiogram Carotid with without Contrast
CT SOFT TISSUE NECK with and without CONTRAST
CT SOFT TISSUE NECK WITHOUT CONTRAST
CT Neck with Contrast
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