Detection of intracranial aneurysms: multi-detector row CT angiography compared with DSA

Radiology. 2004 Feb;230(2):510-8. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2302021465. Epub 2003 Dec 29.


Purpose: To prospectively compare the effectiveness of multi-detector row computed tomographic (CT) angiography with that of conventional intraarterial digital subtraction angiography (DSA) used to detect intracranial aneurysms in patients with nontraumatic acute subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Materials and methods: Thirty-five consecutive adult patients with acute subarachnoid hemorrhage were recruited into the institutional review board-approved study and gave informed consent. All patients underwent both multi-detector row CT angiography and DSA no more than 12 hours apart. CT angiography was performed with a multi-detector row scanner (four detector rows) by using collimation of 1.25 mm and pitch of 3. Images were interpreted at computer workstations in a blinded fashion. Two radiologists independently reviewed the CT images, and two other radiologists independently reviewed the DSA images. The presence and location of aneurysms were rated on a five-point scale for certainty. Sensitivity and specificity were calculated independently for image interpretation performed by the two CT image readers and the second DSA image reader by using the first DSA reader's interpretation as the reference standard.

Results: A total of 26 aneurysms were detected at DSA in 21 patients, and no aneurysms were detected in 14 patients. Sensitivity and specificity for CT angiography were, respectively, 90% and 93% for reader 1 and 81% and 93% for reader 2. The mean diameter of aneurysms detected on CT angiographic images was 4.4 mm, and the smallest aneurysm detected was 2.2 mm in diameter. Aneurysms that were missed at initial interpretation of CT angiographic images were identified at retrospective reading.

Conclusion: Multi-detector row CT angiography has high sensitivity and specificity for detection of intracranial aneurysms, including small aneurysms, in patients with nontraumatic acute subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Angiography, Digital Subtraction*
  • Cerebral Angiography*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / diagnostic imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Observer Variation
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage / diagnostic imaging
  • Tomography, Spiral Computed*