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Satoshi Tateshima, Fernando Viñuela, J. Pablo Villablanca, Yuichi Murayama, Taku Morino, Kiyoe Nomura, and Kazuo Tanishita

Object. The aim of this study was to evaluate axial and secondary flow structures in a wide-necked internal carotid artery—ophthalmic artery aneurysm, one of the most common locations for endovascular coil placement.

Methods. A clear acrylic aneurysm model was manufactured from a three-dimensional computerized tomography angiogram. Intraaneurysm blood flow analysis was conducted using an acrylic aneurysm model together with laser Doppler velocimetry and particle imaging velocimetry. The maximal axial blood flow velocities in the inflow and outflow zones at the aneurysm orifice were noted at the peak systolic phase, measuring 46.8 and 24.9% of that in the parent artery, respectively. The mean size of the inflow zone during one cardiac cycle was 44.3 ± 9.8% (range 35.6–58.7%) the size of the axial section at the aneurysm orifice. In the lower and upper planes of the aneurysm dome, the mean size of inward and outward flow areas were 43.3 ± 6.7% and 43.8 ± 6.8% the size of the axial cross-sectional plane, respectively. The axial flow velocity structures were dynamically altered throughout the cardiac cycle, particularly at the aneurysm orifice. The fastest secondary flow at the opening was also noted at the peak systolic and early diastolic phases. Axial blood flow velocity was slower in the upper axial plane of the aneurysm dome than in the lower one. Conversely, the secondary flow component was faster in the upper plane.

Conclusions. The side-wall aneurysm in this study did not demonstrate a simple flow pattern as was previously seen in ideally shaped experimental aneurysms in vitro and in vivo. The flow patterns of inflow and outflow zones were very difficult to predict based on the limited flow information provided on standard digital subtraction angiography, even in an aneurysm with a relatively simple dome shape.

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Prem Venugopal, Daniel Valentino, Holger Schmitt, J. Pablo Villablanca, Fernando Viñuela, and Gary Duckwiler

Object

Due to the difficulty of obtaining patient-specific velocity measurements during imaging, many assumptions have to be made while imposing inflow boundary conditions in numerical simulations conducted using patient-specific, imaging-based cerebral aneurysm models. These assumptions can introduce errors, resulting in lack of agreement between the computed flow fields and the true blood flow in the patient. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effect of the assumptions made while imposing inflow boundary conditions on aneurysmal hemodynamics.

Methods

A patient-based anterior communicating artery aneurysm model was selected for this study. The effects of various inflow parameters on numerical simulations conducted using this model were then investigated by varying these parameters over ranges reported in the literature. Specifically, we investigated the effects of heart and blood flow rates as well as the distribution of flow rates in the A1 segments of the anterior cerebral artery.

The simulations revealed that the shear stress distributions on the aneurysm surface were largely unaffected by changes in heart rate except at locations where the shear stress magnitudes were small. On the other hand, the shear stress distributions were found to be sensitive to the ratio of the flow rates in the feeding arteries as well as to variations in the blood flow rate.

Conclusions

Measurement of the blood flow rate as well as the distribution of the flow rates in the patient's feeding arteries may be needed for numerical simulations to accurately reproduce the intraaneurysmal hemodynamics in a specific aneurysm in the clinical setting.

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Satoshi Tateshima, Yuichi Murayama, J. Pablo Villablanca, Taku Morino, Hikoichiro Takahashi, Takatsugu Yamauchi, Kazuo Tanishita, and Fernando Viñuela

Object. To obtain precise flow profiles in patients' aneurysms, the authors developed a new in vitro study method featuring an aneurysm model manufactured using three-dimensional computerized tomography (3D CT) angiography.

Methods. A clear acrylic basilar artery (BA) tip aneurysm model manufactured from a patient's 3D CT angiogram was used to analyze flow modifications during one cardiac cycle. Stereolithography was utilized to create the aneurysm model. Three-dimensional flow profiles within the aneurysm model were obtained from velocity measurements by using laser Doppler velocimetry. The aneurysm inflow/outflow zones changed dynamically in their location, size of their cross-sectional area, and also in their shapes over one cardiac cycle. The flow velocity at the inflow zone was 16.8 to 81.9% of the highest axial velocity in the BA with a pulsatility index (PI) of 1.1. The flow velocity at the outflow zone was 16.8 to 34.3% of the highest axial velocity of the BA, with a PI of 0.68. The shear stress along the walls of the aneurysm was calculated from the fluid velocity measured at a distance of 0.5 mm from the wall. The highest value of shear stress was observed at the bleb of the aneurysm.

Conclusions. This clear acrylic model of a BA tip aneurysm manufactured using a CT angiogram allowed qualitative and quantitative analysis of its flow during a cardiac cycle. Accumulated knowledge from this type of study may reveal pertinent information about aneurysmal flow dynamics that will help practitioners understand the relationship among anatomy, flow dynamics, and the natural history of aneurysms.

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Satoshi Tateshima, John Grinstead, Shantanu Sinha, Yih-Lin Nien, Yuichi Murayama, J. Pablo Villablanca, Kazuo Tanishita, and Fernando Viñuela

Object. The aim of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of complex intraaneurysmal flow visualization with the currently available phase-contrast magnetic resonance (MR) imaging modality.

Methods. A geometrically realistic in vitro aneurysm model, in which detailed flow velocity analysis had already been conducted using laser Doppler velocimetry was used for this in vitro hemodynamic simulation, so that the results of phase-contrast velocity measurements could be compared with the previous reliable results. On a 1.5-tesla unit, three orthogonal components of velocity were obtained using a standard two-dimensional fast low—angle shot flow quantification sequence. Three-dimensional (3D) intraaneurysmal flow structures recorded during one cardiac cycle were depicted in one midsagittal and three axial cross-sectional planes with the aid of gray scale phase-contrast velocity maps. Isovelocity contour maps and secondary flow vectors were also created based on the phase-contrast velocity maps by using MATLAB software. The isovelocity contours in those three axial sections could demonstrate the shapes of inward and outward flow areas and their alternation over one cardiac cycle. The secondary flow vectors demonstrated twin vortices within the outward flow area adjacent to the boundary layer of inward and outward flow in all axial planes.

Conclusions. The phase-contrast MR imaging method was able to depict the complex 3D intraaneurysmal flow structures in the in vitro aneurysm model. Detailed 3D intraaneurysmal flow information will be obtainable in vivo after improvements are made in spatial resolution, which is expected in the near future. The capability to visualize intraaneurysmal flow structures directly with the use of noninvasive MR imaging technology will have a positive impact on future clinical practice.

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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, Neil Martin, Reza Jahan, Y. Pierre Gobin, John Frazee, Gary Duckwiler, John Bentson, Marcella Hardart, Domingos Coiteiro, James Sayre, and Fernando Vinuela

Object. The goal of this study was to evaluate the utility of volume-rendered helical computerized tomography (CT) angiography in patients with intracranial aneurysms. The authors compared the abilities of CT angiography, digital subtraction (DS) angiography, and three-dimensional time-of-flight magnetic resonance (MR) angiography to characterize aneurysms.

Methods. Helical CT angiography was performed in 45 patients with suspected intracranial aneurysms by using volume-rendered multiplanar reformatted (MPR) images. Digital subtraction angiography was performed using biplane angiography. These studies and those performed using MR angiography were interpreted in a blinded manner. Two neurosurgeons and two interventional neuroradiologists independently graded the utility of CT angiography with respect to aneurysm characterization.

Fifty-five aneurysms were detected. Of these, 48 were evaluated for treatment. Computerized tomography angiography was judged to be superior to both DS and MR angiography in the evaluation of the arterial branching pattern at the aneurysm neck (compared with DS angiography, p = 0.001, and with MR angiography, p = 0.007), aneurysm neck geometry (compared with DS angiography, p = 0.001, and with MR angiography, p = 0.001), arterial branch incorporation (compared with DS angiography, p = 0.021, and with MR angiography, p = 0.001), mural thrombus (compared with DS angiography, p < 0.001), and mural calcification (compared with DS angiography, p < 0.001, and with MR angiography, p < 0.001). For surgical cases, CT angiography had a significant impact on treatment path (p = 0.001), operative approach (p = 0.001), and preoperative clip selection (p < 0.001). For endovascular cases, CT angiography had an impact on treatment path (p < 0.02), DS angiography study time (p = 0.01), contrast agent usage (p = 0.01), and coil selection (p = 0.02). Computerized tomography angiography provided unique information about 39 (81%) of 48 aneurysms, especially when compared with DS angiography (p = 0.003). The sensitivity and specificity of CT angiography compared with DS angiography was 1. The sensitivity and specificity of CT and DS angiography studies compared with operative findings were 0.98 and 1, respectively.

Conclusions. Computerized tomography angiography is equal to DS angiography in the detection and superior to DS angiography and MR angiography in the characterization of brain aneurysms. Information contained in volume-rendered CT angiography images had a significant impact on case management.

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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.