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J. Pablo Villablanca, Adina Achiriolaie, Parizad Hooshi, Neil Martin, Gary Duckwiler, Reza Jahan, John Frazee, Pierre Gobin, James Sayre, and Fernando Viñuela

Object. The aim of this study was to determine whether computerized tomography (CT) angiography could be used to identify and characterize aneurysms of the posterior circulation and guide optimal treatment selection, and how data obtained using this method compared with intraoperative findings.

Methods. Patients suspected of harboring brain aneurysms underwent CT angiography and digital subtraction (DS) angiography; the results were prospectively interpreted by blinded independent evaluators. All patients with posterior circulation aneurysms were consecutively enrolled in the study. After treatment, neurosurgeons and endovascular therapists evaluated the ability of CT and DS angiography to demonstrate features of the lesions important for triage between treatment options (Wilcoxon signed-rank test) and to allow for coil or clip preselection and complete treatment planning (McNemar test of proportions), while using intraoperative findings as the basis of truth.

In 242 patients overall, CT angiography detected 38 aneurysms and two aneurysmal blisters in 32 patients. The sensitivity of CT angiography in revealing posterior circulation aneurysms was 100% compared with DS angiography, with no false-positive results. Furthermore, CT angiography was sufficient as the sole study at triage for 65% of the posterior circulation aneurysms (26 of 40 lesions; p < 0.001), including 62% of the complex lesions (p < 0.001), and permitted coil or clip preselection in 74% of treated cases (20 of 27 cases; p < 0.002). Results of CT angiography revealed information about mural calcification and intraluminal thrombus not available on DS angiography, which affected patient care.

Conclusions. In this study population, CT angiography was comparable to DS angiography in the detection and characterization of aneurysms of the posterior circulation. Computerized tomography angiography was used successfully to triage patients between endovascular and neurosurgical treatment options in a significant proportion of cases and permitted treatment planning in more than 70% of treated cases.

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J. Pablo Villablanca, Parizad Hooshi, Neil Martin, Reza Jahan, Gary Duckwiler, Sylvester Lim, John Frazee, Y. Pierre Gobin, James Sayre, John Bentson, and Fernando Viñuela

Object. Middle cerebral artery (MCA) aneurysms can be difficult to detect and characterize. The authors describe the utility and impact of helical computerized tomography (CT) angiography for the evaluation of aneurysms in this location, and compare this modality with digital subtraction (DS) angiography and intraoperative findings.

Methods. Two hundred fifty-one patients with suspected cerebral aneurysms underwent CT angiography. Two-dimensional multiplanar reformatted images and three-dimensional CT angiograms were examined by two independent readers in a blinded fashion. Results were compared with findings on DS angiograms to determine the relative efficacy of these modalities in the detection and characterization of aneurysms. Questionnaires completed by neurosurgeons and endovascular therapists were used to determine the impact of CT angiograms on aneurysm management.

Twenty-eight patients harboring 31 MCA aneurysms and 26 patients without aneurysms were identified using CT angiography. The sensitivity of CT angiography and DS angiography for MCA aneurysms was 97%; both techniques showed 100% specificity. In 76% of evaluations, the CT angiography studies provided information not available on DS angiography examinations. For the characterization of aneurysms, CT angiography was rated superior (72%) or equal (20%) to DS angiography in 92% of cases evaluated (p < 0.001). Computerized tomography angiography was evaluated as the only study needed for patient triage in 82% of cases (p < 0.001), and as the only study needed for treatment planning in 89% of surgically treated (p < 0.001) and in 63% of endovascularly treated cases (p < 0.001). The information acquired on CT angiograms changed the initial treatment plan in 24 (67%) of these 36 complex lesions (p < 0.01). The aneurysm appearance intraoperatively was identical or nearly identical to that seen on CT angiograms in 17 (89%) of 19 of the surgically treated cases.

Conclusions. Computerized tomography angiography has unique advantages over DS angiography and is a viable alternative to the latter modality in the diagnosis, triage, and treatment planning in patients with MCA aneurysms.