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Diagnosis of a ruptured cerebral aneurysm is commonly made by finding signs of subarachnoid hemorrhage on a CT scan (Computerized Tomography, sometimes called a CAT scan). The CT scan is a computerized test that rapidly X-rays the body in cross-sections, or slices, as the body is moved through a large, circular machine.
If the CT scan is negative but a ruptured aneurysm is still suspected, a lumbar puncture is performed to detect blood in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) that surrounds the brain and spinal cord.To determine the exact location, size and shape of an aneurysm (ruptured or unruptured), neuroradiologists will use either cerebral angiography or tomographic angiography.
Cerebral angiography, the traditional method, involves introducing a catheter (small plastic tube) into an artery (usually in the leg) and steering it through the blood vessels of the body to the artery involved by the aneurysm. A special dye, called a contract agent, is injected into the patient’s artery and its distribution is shown on X-ray projections. This method may not detect some aneurysms due to overlapping structures or spasm.
Computed Tomographic Angiography (CTA) is an alternative to the traditional method and can be performed without the need for arterial catheterization. This test combines a regular CT scan with a contrast dye injected into a vein. Once the dye is injected into a vein, it travels to the brain arteries, and images are created using a CT scan. These images show exactly how blood flows into the brain arteries.
Article Source: Brain Aneurysm Resources