Healthcare professionals employ carotid angiography to detect blockages or constrictions in the carotid arteries, which transport blood from the heart to the head and brain. Positioned on each side of the neck, these sizable arteries are made visible by injecting contrast dye through a catheter, enabling the capture of images to identify any potential obstructions.

When is carotid angiography performed?

The carotid arteries are a pair of substantial blood vessels positioned on both sides of your neck, responsible for transporting blood from your heart to your brain and head. When these arteries experience narrowing or blockage due to atherosclerosis, it is referred to as carotid artery disease.

Carotid angiography may be advised by your healthcare physician when there are suspicions of carotid artery disease. This diagnostic test might also be recommended if you have experienced a transient ischemic attack (mini-stroke) or a full stroke.

The procedure of carotid angiography can be summarized in the following points


The patient is prepared for the procedure, which may involve fasting for a certain period and discontinuing certain medications. An intravenous (IV) line is typically inserted for administering contrast dye.


Local anesthesia is administered at the access site (usually in the groin area) to numb the skin and underlying tissues.

Catheter Insertion

A thin, flexible tube called a catheter is carefully inserted through the access site and threaded through the blood vessels toward the carotid arteries. This is guided using X-ray imaging.

Contrast Dye Injection

Contrast dye is injected through the catheter directly into the carotid arteries. This dye helps visualize the arteries on X-ray images.

Image Capture

X-ray images are taken while the contrast dye flows through the carotid arteries. These images provide a detailed view of the blood vessels, allowing the healthcare physician to identify any blockages or narrowing.


The degree of stenosis (narrowing) in the carotid arteries is assessed based on the images obtained.

Intervention Decision

Depending on the severity of the blockage or narrowing, the healthcare physician may decide whether further intervention, such as carotid angioplasty with stenting or endarterectomy, is necessary to address the issue.

Closure and Recovery

After the procedure, the catheter is removed, and pressure or vascular closure device is applied to the access site to prevent bleeding. The patient is monitored briefly in a recovery area and can often return to regular activities within a day or two.

Carotid angiography is a diagnostic tool used to evaluate the condition of the carotid arteries and determine the need for potential interventions to reduce the risk of stroke.