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Sepideh Amin-Hanjani, John H. Shin, Meide Zhao, Xinjian Du and Fady T. Charbel


To date, angiography has been the primary modality for assessing graft patency following extracranial–intracranial bypass. The utility of a noninvasive and quantitative method of assessing bypass function postoperatively was evaluated using quantitative magnetic resonance (MR) angiography.


One hundred one cases of bypass surgery performed over a 5.5-year period at a single institution were reviewed. In 62 cases, both angiographic and quantitative MR angiographic data were available. Intraoperative flow measurements were available in 13 cases in which quantitative MR angiography was performed during the early postoperative period (within 48 hours after surgery).

There was excellent correlation between quantitative MR angiographic flow and angiographic findings over the mean 10 months of imaging follow up. Occluded bypasses were consistently absent on quantitative MR angiograms (four cases). The flow rates were significantly lower in those bypasses that became stenotic or reduced in diameter as demonstrated by follow-up angiography (nine cases) than in those bypasses that remained fully patent (mean ± standard error of the mean, 37 ± 13 ml/minute compared with 105 ± 7 ml/minute, p = 0.001). Flows were appreciably lower in poorly functioning bypasses for both vein and in situ arterial grafts. All angiographically poor bypasses (nine cases) were identifiable by absolute flows of less than 20 ml/minute or a reduction in flow greater than 30% within 3 months. Good correlation was seen between intraoperative flow measurements and early postoperative quantitative MR angiographic flow measurements (13 cases, Pearson correlation coefficient = 0.70, p = 0.02).


Bypass grafts can be assessed in a noninvasive fashion by using quantitative MR angiography. This imaging modality provides not only information regarding patency as shown by conventional angiography, but also a quantitative assessment of bypass function. In this study, a low or rapidly decreasing flow was indicative of a shrunken or stenotic graft. Quantitative MR angiography may provide an alternative to standard angiography for serial follow up of bypass grafts.

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Fady T. Charbel, Meide Zhao, Sepideh Amin-Hanjani, William Hoffman, Xinjian Du and Marlyn E. Clark

Object. Balloon occlusion tests (BOTs) are performed to identify patients who are at risk for ischemia and stroke following permanent internal carotid artery (ICA) occlusion. The object of this work was to determine whether patient-specific blood flow modeling can be used to identify patients in whom the BOT would not be tolerated.

Methods. The test was performed in 16 patients who underwent BOT with continuous neurological and electroencephalographic monitoring, followed by a hypotensive challenge. During hypotension a tracer was injected so that single-photon emission tomography (SPECT) scans could be obtained. Each individual brain circulation was modeled using information gained from phase-contrast magnetic resonance (MR) angiography and digital subtraction (DS) angiography, and the predicted effect of the BOT was evaluated.

Six patients did not tolerate the BOT; in these patients, decreases in middle cerebral artery (M1 segment) blood flow of 41 ± 27% (mean ± standard deviation), anterior cerebral artery (A3 segment) flow of 56 ± 33%, and posterior cerebral artery (P2 segment) flow of 4 ± 13% ipsilateral to the site of occlusion were found with modeling; these changes were significantly greater than the percentage of changes measured in the contralateral hemisphere (p < 0.05). Ten patients who tolerated the BOT well had calculated decreases in ipsilateral flows of only 9 ± 6% for the M1 segment, 12 ± 40% for the A3 segment, and 17 ± 21% for the P2 segment during BOT modeling.

Conclusions. A decrease in blood flow in both the ipsilateral M1 and A3 segments that was greater than 20%, calculated by flow modeling of the BOT, was 100% sensitive and 100% specific in identifying patients who could not tolerate the BOT. Blood flow modeling, coupled with DS angiography and noninvasive phase-contrast MR angiography measurements to make calculations patient specific, can be used to identify patients who have an elevated risk of ischemia during the BOT.