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Cone beam computed tomography improves the detection of injured vessels and involved vascular territories in patients with bleeding of uncertain origin

Ulrich Grosse, Roland Syha, Dominik Ketelsen, Rüdiger Hoffmann, Sasan Partovi, Tarun Mehra, Konstantin Nikolaou, Gerd Grözinger
British Journal of Radiology 2018, 91 (1088): 20170562

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this preliminary retrospective study was to analyse if cone beam CT (CBCT) is able to identify more bleeding sites and corresponding feeding arteries in patients with haemorrhage of uncertain origin.

METHODS: In 18 vascular territories (16 patients), pre-interventional CT angiography (CTA) and selective angiograms resulted in discordant information regarding the suspected bleeding site and hence received CBCT. Image data of CTA and selective angiograms in comparison to CBCT were independently reviewed by two interventional radiologists. Image quality, diagnostic confidence, number of bleeding sites and involved vascular territories were investigated. Additionally, the correlation between number of bleeding sites and involved vascular territories with a  clinical gold-standard (super-selective angiographic findings and definitive clinical outcomes) was analysed.

RESULTS: Overall, subjective image quality did not significantly differ between investigated imaging modalities. However, CBCT significantly improved diagnostic confidence in both readers in detecting bleeding vessel (s) (p = 0.0024/0.0005; Reader 1/Reader2). High correlation coefficients regarding the number of bleeding sites (r = 0.9163/0.7692) in contrast to the number of involved vascular territories (r = 0.2888/0.0105) were observed for CTA in comparison to clinical gold-standard. In this context, CBCT demonstrated a very strong correlation for both parameters, the number of bleeding vessels (r = 0.9720/0.9721) and the number involved vascular territories (r = 0.9441/0.9441).

CONCLUSION: In complex cases of suspected haemorrhage, CBCT images can aid the interventionalist in detecting bleeding sites as well as narrowing down the number of involved vascular territories and thereby identifying feeding arteries of the bleeding source. Advances in knowledge: (1) CBCT showed no improvement in image quality. However, in complex bleeding cases CBCT information might aid in treatment planning. (2) CBCT improves visualization of bleeding vessels and involved feeding arteries. (3) Particularly, less experienced interventionalists might benefit from the three-dimensional information gathered by CBCT.


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