Safety of carbon dioxide digital subtraction angiography

John M Moos, Sung W Ham, Sukgu M Han, Wesley K Lew, Hong T Hua, Douglas B Hood, Vincent L Rowe, Fred A Weaver
Archives of Surgery 2011, 146 (12): 1428-32

OBJECTIVE: Reports of fatality following carbon dioxide digital subtraction angiography (CO2-DSA) have raised concerns regarding its safety. This study reviews the safety of CO2-DSA.

DESIGN: Single-institution retrospective review.

SETTING: Tertiary care teaching hospital in Los Angeles, California.

PATIENTS: A total of 951 patients who underwent 1007 CO2-DSA procedures during a 21-year period.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Preprocedure and postprocedure creatinine values and periprocedural morbidity and mortality.

RESULTS: A total of 632 arterial CO2-DSA were performed; 527 were aortograms with or without extremity runoff; 100, extremity alone; and 5, pulmonary. Venous CO2-DSA included 187 inferior vena cavagrams, 182 hepatic or visceral, 5 extremity venograms, and 1 superior vena cavagram. Associated endovascular procedures were performed in 499 cases; 162 were arterial interventions including 62 endovascular aneurysm repairs, 53 visceral or renal percutaneous angioplasty with/without stent, 41 extremity percutaneous angioplasty with or without a stent, and 4 cases of thrombolysis or embolization; 176 caval filters, 98 transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunts, 54 transjugular liver biopsies, and 9 other venous interventions. The mean preprocedure creatinine level was 2.1 mg/dL; postprocedure, 2.1 mg/dL (P = .56). There were a total of 61 (6.1%) procedural complications including 4 (0.4%) mortalities. Two were procedure-related complications: 1, suppurative pancreatitis following aortogram; and 2, hepatic bleed following failed transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunts. Two were attributable to patient disease; 1, metastatic adenocarcinoma; and 2, refractory, end-stage cardiomyopathy.

CONCLUSION: Carbon dioxide digital subtraction angiography is a versatile technique that can be safely used for diagnostic and therapeutic endovascular procedures. Morbidity and mortality are acceptable with preservation of renal function. Thus, CO2-DSA is a safe alternative to iodinated contrast.

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