A carotid angiogram, which requires the use of a dye material, X-rays and fluoroscopy, involves the insertion of a catheter into a blood vessel in either the arm or leg region that must reach the arteries in the neck and head area. This imaging procedure is useful for the detection of blocked or narrow arteries, states Cleveland Clinic.
Before the procedure starts, the patient lies down on a table, and there is an X-ray machine positioned so that it moves over the upper body region, notes Hamilton Cardiology Associates. Additionally, there are electrodes placed on the patient's chest to monitor the heart throughout the procedure. An IV is also necessary to administer medications required for the procedure.
A carotid angiogram is an invasive procedure in which a patient requires an anesthetic to numb the site for the procedure. The procedure location can be the femoral artery in the groin area or the brachial artery found in the arm near the elbow, as noted by WebMD. Once the area is numb, the doctor performs a small incision and introduces a hollow tube to guide a catheter through it to the two carotid arteries in the neck area. For proper imaging of the arteries of these regions, an injected dye material goes through the catheter. The X-ray machine takes images of the arteries with the contrasting dye in them.
Once the procedure is over, a doctor can view or check the pictures for any problems in the carotid blood vessels.