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Finally having my six month scan done tomorrow night which should of been done in December although I'm having a MRI done instead of angiogram I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing! I don't really know the difference between them. Be glad when it is over! Not too nervous about having it done just anxious what the results will say and will have to wait until 21st March when I go back to consultant for the results but onwards and upwards as they say!!

Hope everyone is good

Take Care

Vicky xx

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Personally I would prefer an MRI to an angiogram but the main thing is the result at the end of the day. I have my fingers crossed for you.

I have my post surgery check angiogram on Mar 10th so we may get our results at a similar time, like you I'm anxious about what they show.

All the best


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Well an angiogram is a much better diagnostic test. It can see the smallest details that an MRI cant pick up. However, the test has serious risk of complication. Its approx 1-3% risk of permanent neurological disability (stroke, allergic reaction,blindness,heart attack) in addition to a massive radiation dose and contrast load.

I didnt like my angio at all but had no problems with my MRI.

Good luck on whatever test you take !!!

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In reply to Surfer34, i'm no Doctor but.....I believe all such tests come under the umbrella of angiography. Depending on what sort of angiogram you have will depend on what the consultant is looking for.

By far the most detailed is an MRA (I)

The MRI scan uses magnetic and radio waves, meaning that there is no exposure to X-rays or any other damaging forms of radiation.It is used for ultra fine tissue recognition.

Ct angiograms use what is considered as non radioactive(less than a wristwatch) exposure, There are two types, one using dye (fluids in a CTa are also considered a low risk substance) and the other without. Ct scans are considered the first step.There is always a slight chance of cancer from excessive exposure to radiation. However, the benefit of an accurate diagnosis far outweighs the risk.

There is a further type of angiogram (of which i'm sure most of us are aware) and that is a femoral angiogram. Again this can be used with or without dye.

Vicky, as scarey as it may be, just remember that it's scans like these that have saved our lives (as well as the damned fine health care staff.

Edited by garyolly
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Yeah I assumed she meant a cerebral catheter angiogram vs an MRI. However, not all of them would be angiography. That only refers to imaging of vascular structures like veins and arteries.

Many times a CT or MRI, if done without a contrast agent, is not angiography.

I would disagree with the MRA being the most detailed though.

For the brain the cerebral angiogram is certainly more detailed as MRA/MRI has trouble detecting aneurysms smaller than about 5mm. Same with CTA as well.

The good thing is that every year CT and MRI machines and software is getting better and hopefully soon will replace cerebral angiograms.

Here is a good article about some new techonology


Edited by Surfer34
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Don't know about you, but I find all the above way too confusing. I guess I'm not as clever as I like to believe. :shock: I personally would take my medical staffs advice. After all, they know more about it than I do. I had some kind of scan on my admission to hospital. I thought it was CT, but can't be sure. It done the job anyway, so I take it the doctors knew their stuff. :-P Hope all goes well for you.

Take care,

Sally xx

ps... I've decided now, not to even try fathoming out all that medical jargon. My wee brain has enough to cope with already.:cool:

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I had a ct scn which showed nothign 10 days post anurism, the MRI was done without contrast at 27 days post anurism & showed the anni but to get more precise locations & measurements I had an angiogram with contrast of each brain segment. This was more for the purpose of the nuerosurgeon to show him the location & size of the anni before the clipping I would expect.

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Hey there

Spot on Bogbrush - the only angiogram I had was the initial femoral one to see where the anni's were. Since then I've had MRA scans - I asked if I would have to have the dye injected and was told by the expert that the MRA is as good as if not better than the dye being injected. I have two annis and both are smaller than 5mm - both were picked up clearly on the MRA scan.

Vicky I hope all went well today.

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I've also had quite a few MRA's since the SAH and have never had to have the contrast dye injected. Scanner technology is progressing, so I'm imagining that is one of the reasons why it's not always needed. Our local hospital has a scanner charity, which has been pretty successful and it's helped to fund new scanners with the latest technology and has benefited the local community. :-D

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From what I know about this topic, MRI is often used for post op imaging of those who have already been treated for a ruptured or unruptured aneurysm. This is done to check the placement of a coil or clip.

However, in pre-op assement of SAH with uknown location, MRA is only accurate in determining the location of a ruptured aneurysm in about 95 % of cases.

I am no expert but I am not sure how the vascular structure of the brain or neck or spinal areas could be seen properly without a contrast agent.

Since my SAH was angiogram negative (CTA and then DSA) the issue of the type of follow up test was very important.

I had a CTA done for follow up instead of a DSA but later found out that most centers will order DSA because of its better sensitivty. In my case I was told DSA would pick up about 1-2% of the missed aneursyms from CTA or MRA.

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I've had MRA's for both post op and also for screening for new aneurysms and blood vessel abnormality .... I believe that the contrast dye is not needed with the newer scanners...

I'm also in receipt of copies of my MRA scans and the imaging is fine and in minute detail.

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so you had all of your MRA's with no contrast ? hmm. i would have certainly liked to get mine without contrast, i didnt like the way it made my heart race and wanna pee, lol.

mine was CTA though.

i really like the no radiation from the MRI's and apparently the contrast dye they use is much safer for kidneys and stuff.

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I had a CT scan initially to detect what was wrong with my head... then had a CT scan with dye to show up the vessels more clearly... they then located the aneurysm but couldn't see the bleed, so they done a lumbar puncture which still didn't show a bleed (this was 4 days post-SAH).

Then I had the coiling op which is essentially the angiogram with constrast dye for them to do the endovascular coiling.

Two months post-op I had an MRi/MRa check as I'd had some numbness and tingling sensations in my left-hand-side on a couple of occasions... but didn't have any dye injected...

I believe Maggie said a few weeks back that she was told than an MRa is an MRi but the 'a' refers to the specific targeting of the arteries during the scan.

I am not sure why they do or don't use the contrast agent, but would imagine they try not to use it unless they believe it is absolutely necessary to improve the images slightly?? (as there is a slight risk of it affecting the kidneys?)

I then had a 1-yr angiogram check up where they used the contrast dye again, and I am going for another MRa on Tuesday evening as they will only need to do an MRa in December this year (instead of angiogram) so want current MRa pics to cross-reference to... phew

I have now found the following information online which describes a DSA;

Digital subtraction angiography (DSA) — Gives an image of the brain's major blood vessels. A thin plastic tube (a catheter) is inserted into a major artery of the leg and advanced through the body's major vessels until it reaches the brain's blood vessels. A contrast dye is injected through the catheter and allowed to circulate in the bloodstream. At that point, an X-ray machine quickly takes a series of pictures of the head and neck. The images track the movement of the contrast dye as it moves through the brain's blood vessels. This imaging technique lets the doctor identify and localize the source of a blocked blood vessel that caused the stroke. Some people may feel a warm sensation as the contrast medium is injected into the blood vessels

I believe I am now right in thinking that a 'DSA' is what some of us are referring to as just 'angiogram'?

'Simples' or 'confused.com' You Decide! ;)


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I think for everyone its different while ct scan may be best for someone they may not work for someone ese hence the fact we trust our doctors to make the right decesion for us.

Ive had all of the above and the only way to see mine is anniogram (except the coiled 1 can be picked up on all post op)i also think the worst 1 to go through i anniograms as they are time consuming and painful


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The angio for me was ok although i bruised really badly when they took the catheter out of my groin & i didn't like the stars in my eyes when they dye went through but I would rather thave that than an MRI. I'm cluatraphobic & the MRI is torture especially as they are designed only to be comfy skinny minnies & not big girls like me :-(. I had to force myself to go to the last one as I knew it was the only way to get a diagnosis.

The main problem with the angio was the temperature in the angio room & my feet were freezing ( this was in the heat of the summer & the room had air con turned up to the max) note for next time to wear socks (hope there's never a next time though!)

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:-D A tad late on this one but thought i'd add my tuppence worth as I had an MRA in January of this year. Whilst I was there I asked what the difference was.I was told the following........

MRI and MRA are same thing ie; Magnetic Resonance Imaging! MRA is still Magnetic Resonance Imagary but with particular interest to the arteries,and blood vessels.

Sometimes they inject dye..... I didn't have any dye!

Magguie xxx:-D

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