For Patients & Their Families

Digital Subtraction Angiogram  (DSA or Brain Angiogram)

This is another name for an angiography of the brain.

It is done via a tiny (about 1.5 mm) puncture in the groin artery under local anesthesia. A thin, long tube called a diagnostic catheter is passed into the vessels supplying the brain and using X-rays and contrast, filming of the neck & brain is done to detect abnormalities in the blood vessels supplying the brain. It takes hardly 20 to 30 minutes and the patient goes home the same evening.

This test is practically free of risk in the hands of a trained & experienced operator. Although it sounds similar to a heart or limb angiography, its technique and interpretation are more complicated & it is best left to someone specially trained in neurontervention.

DSA is still considered the gold standard for almost all its indications. Newer modalities like CT angiogram are compared to DSA to establish their efficacy.

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