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Stroke & Cerebrovascular Center

Patient Information

Glossary of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Terms

Aneurysm - A weak area in the wall of a blood vessel that balloons outward, and forms a thin-walled sac or bubble.

Aneurysm recanalization - A previously treated aneurysm that refills or regrows and may require retreatment.

Angiogram - A x-ray test to look at blood vessels by placing a catheter in a patient's groin (femoral artery) and uses a catheter (long plastic tube) to inject a dye into the vessels of interest.

Cerebral - related to the brain

Coils - A medical device made of long strands of very thin, coiled wire, which facilitate clotting in an aneurysm. The coils are detached into the aneurysm by an electrical current.

Computed tomographic angiography (CTA) - A diagnostic test that uses x-rays from many angles to produce cross-sectional images of a part of the body

Contrast - This is a liquid that is injected in blood vessels to allow visualization of structures of interest using x-rays, CT or MRI

Diagnostic cerebral angiogram - a test used to diagnose abnormalities of the blood vessels of the brain, using a small tube (catheter) from the leg blood vessel into the blood vessel of the neck and injecting dye to see the blood flow

Embolization - blocking a blood vessel, aneurysm, or AVM with a material (either coils, particles, gel foam) to reduce or stop blood from flowing into it

Endovascular - a minimally invasive approach to diagnose or treat problems with blood vessels.

Endovascular procedures are performed via a small incision in an artery and tiny tools are used to treat problems with blood vessels, from inside the blood vessel.

Hemorrhage - loss of blood from a damaged blood vessel

Interventional Neuroradiology (INR) / Interventional Neurology / Endovascular Neurosurgery - a specialty that addresses problems of the blood vessels in the brain using treatment techniques from inside the blood vessel, or endovascular. This includes procedures in the brain (intracranial), outside the brain (outside the skull, above the heart), and blood vessel problems related to the spinal cord

Ischemia - deficient supply of blood and oxygen to an area of the brain, that may be due to obstruction of blood flow (as by a clot, or narrowing of arteries by spasm or atherosclerotic disease).

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) - is a noninvasive test that provides accurate information for the diagnosis and monitoring of disease and injury in a wide range of organ systems. MRI enables visualization of differences between normal and abnormal tissues in the body with great accuracy. MRI is a reflection of the atomic makeup of tissue.

Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA) - using MRI technology, this test looks at blood vessels (arteries) in a region of interest (head or neck)

Stenosis - narrowing of a blood vessel

Stroke - sudden loss of strength, sensation, speech caused by obstruction or rupture of a blood vessel in the brain.

Thrombus - a blood clot

Transient ischemic attack (TIA) - a brief period of cerebral ischemia that is characterized by temporary slurring of speech, trouble producing speech, loss of strength, loss of vision, numbness or paralysis. This is often predictive of a serious stroke, and has also been labeled as "mini-stroke."


Call: 617.638.8456
Fax: 617.638.8465
Email: stroke@bmc.org

Boston Medical Center
Department of Neurology
Shapiro Center
7th Floor, Suite 7B
725 Albany Street
Boston, MA 02118

For Research Information

Contact Helena Lau,
Call: 617.414.1171
Fax: 617.638.5354
stroke@bmc.org or

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Arteriovenous Malformations (AVMs)
Brain Aneurysm Care
Carotid Artery Disease
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