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Alim P. Mitha, Benjamin Reichardt, Michael Grasruck, Eric Macklin, Soenke Bartling, Christianne Leidecker, Bernhard Schmidt, Thomas Flohr, Thomas J. Brady, Christopher S. Ogilvy and Rajiv Gupta

Object

Imaging of intracranial aneurysms using conventional multidetector CT (MDCT) is limited because of nonvisualization of features such as perforating vessels, pulsatile blebs, and neck remnants after clip placement or coil embolization. In this study, a model of intracranial saccular aneurysms in rabbits was used to assess the ultra-high resolution and dynamic scanning capabilities of a prototype flat-panel volumetric CT (fpVCT) scanner in demonstrating these features.

Methods

Ten New Zealand white rabbits underwent imaging before and after clipping or coil embolization of surgically created aneurysms in the proximal right carotid artery. Imaging was performed using a prototype fpVCT scanner, a 64-slice MDCT scanner, and traditional catheter angiography. In addition to the slice data and 3D views, 4D dynamic views, a capability unique to fpVCT, were also created and reviewed. The images were subjectively compared on 1) 4 image quality metrics (spatial resolution, noise, motion artifacts, and aneurysm surface features); 2) 4 posttreatment features reflecting the metal artifact profile of the various imaging modalities (visualization of clip or coil placement, perianeurysmal clip/coil anatomy, neck remnant, and white-collar sign); and 3) 2 dynamic features (blood flow pattern and aneurysm pulsation).

Results

Flat-panel volumetric CT provided better image resolution than MDCT and was comparable to traditional catheter angiography. The surface features of aneurysms were demonstrated with much higher resolution, detail, and clarity by fpVCT compared with MDCT and angiography. Flat-panel volumetric CT was inferior to both MDCT and angiography in terms of image noise and motion artifacts. In fpVCT images, the metallic artifacts from clips and coils were significantly fewer than those in MDCT images. As a result, clinically important information about posttreatment aneurysm neck remnants could be derived from fpVCT images but not from MDCT images. Time-resolved dynamic sequences were judged slightly inferior to conventional angiography but superior to static MDCT images.

Conclusions

The spatial resolution, surface anatomy visualization, metal artifact profile, and 4D dynamic images from fpVCT are superior to those from MDCT. Flat-panel volumetric CT demonstrates aneurysm surface features to better advantage than angiography and is comparable to angiography in metal artifact profile. Even though the temporal resolution of fpVCT is not quite as good as that of angiography, fpVCT images yield clinically important anatomical information about aneurysm surface features and posttreatment neck remnants not attainable with either angiography or MDCT images.