Flat detector angio-CT following intra-arterial therapy of acute ischemic stroke: identification of hemorrhage and distinction from contrast accumulation due to blood-brain barrier disruption

T Kau, M Hauser, S M Obmann, M Niedermayer, J R Weber, K A Hausegger
AJNR. American Journal of Neuroradiology 2014, 35 (9): 1759-64

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Flat panel detector CT in the angiography suite may be valuable for the detection of intracranial hematomas; however, abnormal contrast enhancement frequently mimics hemorrhage. We aimed to assess the accuracy of flat panel detector CT in detecting/excluding intracranial bleeding after endovascular stroke therapy and whether it was able to reliably differentiate hemorrhage from early blood-brain barrier disruption.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Seventy-three patients were included for retrospective evaluation following endovascular stroke therapy: 32 after stent-assisted thrombectomy, 14 after intra-arterial thrombolysis, and 27 after a combination of both. Flat panel CT images were assessed for image quality and the presence and type of intracranial hemorrhage and BBB disruption by 2 readers separately and in consensus. Follow-up by multisection head CT, serving as the reference standard, was evaluated by a single reader.

RESULTS: Conventional head CT revealed intracranial hematomas in 12 patients (8 subarachnoid hemorrhages, 7 cases of intracerebral bleeding, 3 SAHs plus intracerebral bleeding). Image quality of flat panel detector CT was considered sufficient in all cases supratentorially and in 92% in the posterior fossa. Regarding detection or exclusion of intracranial hemorrhage, flat panel detector CT reached a sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values, and accuracy of 58%, 85%, 44%, 91%, and 81%, respectively. Maximum attenuation measurements were not valuable for the differentiation of hemorrhage and BBB disruption.

CONCLUSIONS: Flat panel CT after endovascular stroke treatment was able to exclude the rare event of an intracranial hemorrhage with a high negative predictive value. Future studies should evaluate the predictive value of BBB disruptions in flat panel detector CT for the development of relevant hematomas.

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