OBSERVATIONAL STUDY
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Thin-Section MR Imaging for Carotid Cavernous Fistula.

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Carotid-cavernous fistulas are abnormal vascular shunts that can cause various neurologic or orbital symptoms. The purpose of this retrospective study was to evaluate the diagnostic performance of thin-section MR imaging for carotid cavernous fistula in patients with clinically suspected carotid cavernous fistula, and to identify possible imaging predictors of carotid cavernous fistula.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A total of 98 patients who were clinically suspected of having carotid cavernous fistula (according to their symptoms and physical examinations) between January 2006 and September 2018 were included in this study. The patients underwent pretreatment thin-section MR imaging and DSA. Thin-section MR imaging consisted of 2D coronal T1- and T2WI with 3-mm thickness and 3D contrast-enhanced T1WI with 0.6 mm thickness. The diagnostic performance of thin-section MR imaging for carotid cavernous fistula was evaluated with the reference standard of DSA. Univariate logistic regression analysis was performed to determine possible imaging predictors of carotid cavernous fistula.

RESULTS: Among the 98 patients, DSA confirmed 38 as having carotid cavernous fistula. The overall accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity of thin-section MR imaging were 88.8%, 97.4%, and 83.3%, respectively. Possible imaging predictors on thin-section MR imaging included abnormal contour of the cavernous sinus (OR: 21.7), internal signal void of the cavernous sinus (OR: 15.3), prominent venous drainage flow (OR: 54.0), and orbital/periorbital soft tissue swelling (OR: 40.4).

CONCLUSIONS: Thin-section MR imaging provides high diagnostic performance and possible imaging predictors of carotid cavernous fistula in patients with clinically suspected carotid cavernous fistula. Thin-section MR imaging protocols could help decide appropriate management plans for patients with clinically suspected carotid cavernous fistula.

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