This image shows an aneurysm of the internal carotid artery which arises near the origin of the ophthalmic artery. An aneurysm is an abnormal enlargement of the blood vessel, which most likely occurs as a result of the stress placed on the blood vessel by blood flow, atherosclerotic changes, high blood pressure and possibly a congenital contribution. Aneurysms are dangerous because as they get bigger the wall of the blood vessel gets thinner. Over time the wall of the aneurysm can tear and result in bleeding inside of the head. This image was obtained using a highly specialized x-ray machine which can create a 3 dimensional image of the blood vessels during a procedure called an angiogram. A small catheter is passed up the main artery in the abdomen and chest by a physician (usually a radiologist). The radiologist positions this catheter in the blood vessels of the neck (the carotid or vertebral artery). A contrast agent (dye) is injected through this catheter to fill the blood vessels.
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