Worried about angiogram

Am I being silly about being scared to get an angiogram? I found out, in October, that there was a MDT meeting. They said to offer an angiogram or redo CT of carotids in a year from last one which would be end June 2020.
They say it’s tiny (2mm) which is why I don’t know why they want to do an angiogram. I then start thinking here’s something they’re not telling me.
I’ve delayed the decision re agreeing to the angiogram - I see them in a couple of days.
I’m in my 50s and have raised cholesterol and plaque. I’m not on treatment for the cholesterol. What are the chances of a bit of plaque getting dislodged during the angiogram? What does it feel like - when the catheter is getting moved about? I feel like I’m looking at either a stroke or brain haemorrhage. Both parents had fatal brain bleeds.

I don’t think you’re being silly at all. There are some members who believe there’s not much risk in an angiogram, I happen to believe there is because of the honesty of WFBH medical students and my neurosurgeon. I have never felt the catheter during an angiogram with my neurosurgeon. I’ve had many by her, and she’s got me awake enough I can follow her directions but relaxed enough I don’t care if that makes sense.

I think your questions are great to ask your surgeon! Make a list and take it and someone else with you who isn’t the apprehensive type, take notes with what the surgeon says. I’d also ask why the CT and not an MRA? For me, my neurosurgeon always does an MRI/A prior to meeting with her to check out my coiled aneurysm.

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Thank you for your reply Moltroub. I did get an MRI/A which wasn’t too clear so they did a CT angiogram (it took 5 min and agent used was iodine,no catheter) of carotids. I asked him about the plaque when I saw him in October. He said it shouldn’t be an issue.
If it was just the 2mm aneurysm, I wouldn’t agree to the catheter angiogram - it’s my family history that complicates matters.
What would members here do if they were in my position? Apologies for asking but thought I’d try posing the question.

Absolutely no need to apologize FeeFo! If you have a cardiologist, you might want to ask them the risk. The other thing I would suggest is writing a pro/con list for the angiogram. If need be, a second opinion from a different group doesn’t hurt anyone. And speak frankly with your neurosurgeon or any doctor for that matter. I’m guessing that since the angiogram is the conclusive means to check out the aneurysm, it’s why he or she wants to do it. But it sounds like it’s elective and they’re giving you the option. Since none of us here can give medical advice, you will need to be satisfied with the personal opinions of the group and I hope members can help.

Hi Moltroub, I see the cardiologist in 3 weeks. I’m probably going to wait and see if the aneurysm grows. I have diastolic dysfunction, which is why the cardio team will be seeing me. My job is very stressful but I’m still working. I’ve parathyroid and hashimoto’s issues also; don’t know which issue is causing my memory lapses,

I’m glad to hear you’re seeing a cardiologist. I’ve found it’s very important that there is communication between the cardio and Neuro folks. For me personally, I have had to learn to be the communicator. I really hope other members chime in to help.

This is so simple really. If you want to live get the tests. Then there are results. From the results comes treatment with drugs and surgery. Then you have accomplished what you fear. And you are free to live life fully. There’s a great book I read 31 years ago. “Feel the Fear and do it Anyway”.

I have 3 clipped and 1 ready to rupture at anytime. No way to fix it now or when it ruptures. I’m alive and I love being happy despite knowing I may not be here in a minute, hour, day, week, month, or year.

Feel the Fear and do it Anyway!

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I totally agree Vicki. Live today. It’s better to check it out as soon as possible. Aneurysms do their own thing. The only way we can kind of control them is with the help of a doctor. I’m praying for you. Stay encouraged and be blessed. Mostly stay away from the stress.

Thank you Moltroub, Vicki_Russell and Msjay. I love this website so much; I find that no-one else really understands. Yes I’ll stay stress free. I’'m a cat person and love my 2 feline babies and elderly feline (shows signs of dementia…) to bits. I wish you all good health and prayers x

Hi Feefo,

Sorry for the late reply. Cerebral angiogram is really unpleasant. I had it done the day before my craniotomy. I had two during surgery but I was unconscious. They want me to have another this summer. I’ll be seeing my surgeon next week so I will inquire why that is preferred as opposed to MRI. I would suggest that you also inquire as to why that is the preferred test. I personally would prefer the no radiation method. I think with anything procedure,there is risk but it is minimal.
Good Luck.

Remember to take one day at a time and keeping asking the questions you think need answering. In 2017, I had an MRI and was diagnosed with a 2mm aneurysm. I didn’t know what to do. I got 3 opinions. Two said to do an angiogram, one said not to. After the angiogram, I watched and waited for 6 months, but couldn’t deal with the anxiety of having the aneurysm and went through with the pipeline stent. I don’t like angios at all and have now had 3 altogether pre and post treatment. They were uncomfortable, but after successful treatment, I have no regrets. If I know anything now it’s got to be “You do you.” I agonized over the angio as well, one small step took lots of courage.

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Here’s a good explanation of why they use the angiogram

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Just a note to consider. I was recently diagnosed with a 5.5mm aneurysm via MRI. Finally had appointment with endovascular neosurgeon last week. He disagrees that i have an aneurysm (possibly a pituitary tumor/cyst) and has scheduled a cerebral aneurysm 2/26 to clarify. I am 77 and I asked him the same thing. Is there a danger of stroke, etc.? He said: “If we ignore it and it is an aneurysm and it ruptures, there’s a 50% chance of death. If I do the angiogram and something does happen, I will already be inside the artery and can quickly react.” I absorbed his confidence and decided to proceed.

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*Oops, a cerebral angiogram…not aneurysm.

Joyejoy, I think that’s a very smart doctor you have! Speaking from personal experience, a cerebral aneurysm rupture isn’t any fun at all. I wish you many years of enjoying your great grandchildren!

Thank you for your reply. You comments are always so educational presented in an upbeat, positive way. An encourager! The world needs more of you.

The cerebral angiogram is the gold standard for identifying aneurysms. When I had one, there was some pain when the catheter was inserted into my groin. Otherwise, no problems and the test gave a clear picture of what was going on prior to the coiling/stent procedure to treat the aneurysm. I hope all is going well. I understand how stressful your situation is. I am now waiting for the first MRA following the second treatment of my aneurysm when more coils were added. Be positive!


No they aren’t bad at all. You actually can watch the tv next to the bed if you strain out your eye and see the probe inside your brain. I hope you are alright. Where do you live? Take care of yourself. Im sure your in great hands.

I can understand about the fear. I didn’t have the chance to decide and very little time to be scared. My aneuysm ruptured after I am sure somebody hit me in the back of the head with a shovel. “The” headache started and the next thing I know I woke up in a strange place surrounded by strange people about 3 weeks later.

I had the groin entry back in 2007 for another problem but I had 90% blockage and they couldn’t get through so I had an endarterectomy on my right carotid the next morning. During that angiogram, I didn’t feel a thing. I remember being awake and being told to take deep breaths at certain times but no pain.

For this new one, my surgeon uses the arm instead of the groin to put the catheter in.

My advise would be the angiogram. It may be scary but I would take an angiogram over a rupture 5 out of 5 times.

Good luck with whatever you decide. I won’t say don’t think about it or worry about it but that would be, actually it was, a total waste of typing and reading time. Any sane person is going to think, worry and second guess themselves. But don’t worry, they are a bother, uncomfortable and stressful but they aren’t painful.


I’ve had 2 cerebral angiograms, and was awake at my doctor’s insistence. I didn’t find them uncomfortable at all - if a little freaky - and now know that the 8mm aneurysm I had stented was my only one. Angiograms are the diagnostic gold standard, and I’m glad I had them.