Objective: Clinical evaluation was combined with xenon-enhanced computed tomographic (CT) cerebral blood flow (CBF) evaluation during carotid artery balloon test occlusion (BTO), without patient transfer from the angiography suite to the CT scanner or balloon reinflation.
Technique: Thirteen patients underwent carotid artery BTO. Placement of temporary occlusion balloons was performed with patients positioned on the CT scanner table. If neurological testing revealed no changes within 10 minutes after balloon inflation, patients were positioned within the CT scanner gantry for xenon-enhanced CT CBF evaluation. CBF evaluations were begun 12 to 15 minutes after balloon inflation and required 8 minutes for completion. After completion of CBF evaluation, neurological testing continued during 30 minutes of arterial occlusion.
Results: One patient did not tolerate BTO, with the development of reversible hemiparesis. Reliable CBF data were not obtained because of patient motion in one case. Eleven patients clinically tolerated BTO and completed CBF evaluation. For five patients, xenon-enhanced CT scanning revealed no regions with CBF of less than 30 ml/100 g/min. For four patients, xenon-enhanced CT scanning revealed small regions with CBF of less than 30 ml/100 g/min within the anterior frontal lobe on the occluded side. For two patients, ipsilateral CBF decreased dramatically during BTO, with CBF in many regions of less than 30 ml/100 g/min and in some of less than 20 ml/100 g/min.
Conclusion: Xenon-enhanced CT CBF evaluation can be combined with clinical testing during BTO without patient transfer, balloon reinflation, or increases in the duration of the procedure. We recognize that the value of CBF evaluation during BTO remains to be proven; our technique does, however, eliminate abbreviated clinical neurological evaluation, patient transfer, and balloon reinflation, which were previously associated with the use of xenon-enhanced CT CBF evaluation during carotid artery BTO.