Purpose: To assess for the incidence of clinically silent cerebral lesions after cerebral catheter angiography.
Methods: MRI including PD-, T2-, and diffusion-weighted images was performed shortly before and after 27 cerebral catheter angiographies.
Results: After 5/27 angiographies (18.5%) we found 6 new, presumably embolic cerebral lesions with a typical diameter of 2-3 mm on diffusion-weighted images. No correlation was found between the occurrence of these lesions and a preexisting arteriosclerotic cerebrovascular disease, fluoroscopy time, or number of angiographic series.
Conclusion: Cerebral angiography appears to be associated with a relatively high risk (about 20%) of clinically silent cerebral embolism. This risk is higher than has been estimated based on the incidence of neurological deficits (0.1-0.3%) after cerebral angiography. The safety of cerebral angiography needs to be improved. Diffusion-weighted MR imaging is suitable to monitor the safety of angiographic procedures and material.