Introduction: To evaluate the clinical role of CT angiography (CTA) in patients with acute subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) for treatment decision-making.
Methods: Consecutive patients with acute SAH had CTA using a 64-slice scanner for initial clinical decision-making. Image processing included multiplanar volume reformatted (MPVR) maximum intensity projections (MIP) and 3D volume-rendered reconstructions. CTAs were used for (1) evaluating the cause of SAH, and (2) triaging aneurysm-bearing patients to the more appropriate management, either surgical clipping or endovascular coiling. CTA findings were confirmed by neurosurgical exploration or catheter angiography (digital subtraction angiography, DSA). Successful coiling provided evidence that triaging to endovascular treatment was correct.
Results: Included in the study were 73 patients. CTA findings were confirmed by DSA or neurosurgical operation in 65 patients, and of these 65, 47 had aneurysmal SAH, 3 had vasculitis, 1 had arterial dissection and 14 had no underlying arterial abnormality. The cause of SAH was detected with CTA in 62 out of the 65 patients (95.4%, sensitivity 94%, specificity 100%). CTA revealed the aneurysm in 46 of 47 patients (98%, sensitivity 98%, specificity 100%, positive predictive value 100%, negative predictive value 82.3%), 1 of 3 vasculitides and 1 of 1 dissection. Of the 46 patients with aneurysm, 44 (95.7%) were referred for treatment based on CTA. In 2 patients (2 of 46, 4.4%) CTA was not informative enough to choose treatment requiring DSA. Of the 44 patients, 27 (61.4%) were referred to endovascular treatment and successful coiling was achieved in 25 (25 of 27, 92.6%).
Conclusion: CTA using a 64-slice scanner is an accurate tool for detecting and characterizing aneurysms in acute SAH. CTA is useful in the decision process whether to coil or clip an aneurysm.