Three-dimensional computed tomographic angiography in detection of cerebral aneurysms in acute subarachnoid hemorrhage

Neurosurgery. 1997 Jul;41(1):125-30. doi: 10.1097/00006123-199707000-00026.


Objective: Three-dimensional computed tomographic angiography (CTA) is a recently developed imaging modality. We demonstrate the value of this noninvasive method in replacing digital subtraction angiography (DSA) in the detection of aneurysms of the circle of Willis in patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage admitted to our institution.

Methods: A helical acquisition was performed for computed tomographic scans obtained for 120 patients with a 1 mm per second table speed and a 1-mm collimation, 1:1 pitch. Axial source images were transferred on a console Advantage Windows workstation (General Electric, Milwaukee, WI) and CTA was obtained using maximum intensity projection reconstruction. All patients had undergone DSA of the circle of Willis (80 patients preoperatively and 40 postoperatively).

Results: A total of 129 aneurysms were detected in 107 patients. Three-dimensional CTA disclosed nothing abnormal in 13 patients. Ninety-two patients sustained one aneurysm, 10 patients sustained two, 3 patients sustained three, and 2 patients sustained four. All results were confirmed by DSA. In two cases, aneurysms of the middle cerebral artery were defected by CTA but not by DSA. When using angiographic views, the aneurysm was always masked by a branch of the middle cerebral artery.

Conclusion: The sensitivity of three-dimensional CTA is comparable with that of DSA, and its specificity is 100%. Because CTA is simple, quick, noninvasive, and reliable, we think that it can eventually replace DSA.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aneurysm, Ruptured / diagnostic imaging*
  • Aneurysm, Ruptured / surgery
  • Angiography, Digital Subtraction / instrumentation
  • Cerebral Angiography / instrumentation*
  • Circle of Willis / diagnostic imaging
  • Circle of Willis / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / instrumentation*
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / diagnostic imaging*
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / surgery
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage / diagnostic imaging*
  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage / surgery
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / instrumentation*