IMRI223x216Tests in the hospital will show whether a person has an aneurysm and its location. Usually patients need a combination of tests to provide information for diagnosis and treatment. All of these procedures are performed at United Hospital.

This noninvasive X-ray is usually the first test ordered when an aneurysm rupture is suspected. It shows blood that escaped from the aneurysm

An MRI is a radiology test that uses a magnetic field to show a detailed, three-dimensional view of the brain. MRI shows the aneurysm itself better than the CT scan

This procedure provides the best pictures of arteries of the brain and the aneurysm's exact location. It may follow a CT scan or MRI.

A neuroradiologist (a doctor who specializes in interpreting images of the brain, spine and nerves) conducts the angiogram. The patient is awake, with a mild sedative to relax.

The doctor threads a hollow tube (catheter) from an artery in the groin to the main arteries in the neck that supply the brain. Dye is injected, then an X-ray camera takes pictures of the brain's arteries. The aneurysm shows up as a dilated area on an artery.

Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) and CT angiography (CTA) are less-invasive tests than the cerebral angiogram. Instead of a catheter, they use an injection of dye and MRI or CT scanning.

The tests provide an indirect picture of the brain's arteries. The MRA and CTA may not show small aneurysms and do not match the angiogram's higher-quality images.

This test, also called a spinal tap, collects spinal fluid to check for blood from an aneurysm and to measure pressures. A needle is inserted between two vertebrae in the back, and spinal fluid is drawn out.

Reviewed By: Eric Nussbaum, MD, medical director of United's neurovascular neurosurgery program
First Published: 09/17/2013
Last Reviewed: 09/17/2013