Original Research

Why SWI? The sensitivity of susceptibility weighted imaging in aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage in the chronic phase

Yeshkhir Naidoo, Rohen Harrichandparsad, Khatija Amod
South African Journal of Radiology | Vol 27, No 1 | a2520 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajr.v27i1.2520 | © 2023 Yeshkhir Naidoo, Rohen Harrichandparsad, Khatija Amod | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 July 2022 | Published: 31 March 2023

About the author(s)

Yeshkhir Naidoo, Department of Radiology, Faculty of Diagnostic Radiology, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Rohen Harrichandparsad, Department of Neurosurgery, Faculty of Neurosurgery, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Khatija Amod, Department of Radiology, Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Incidentally detected unruptured intracranial aneurysms have a prevalence of 3% with some predisposed to rupture and others remaining static. Diagnostic knowledge of previous aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage (ASAH) in the chronic phase could identify patients requiring treatment.

Objectives: To assess the sensitivity of susceptibility weighted imaging (SWI) in the detection of ASAH at 3 months post ictus and determine any influencing effects.

Method: A retrospective chart analysis of 46 patients with ASAH who underwent post-embolisation SWI imaging at 3 months. The SWI and available initial CT brain scans or CT reports were evaluated and correlated with patient demographics and clinical severity.

Results: Susceptibility weighted imaging indicated a sensitivity of 95.7% in the detection of ASAH at 3 months. Increased number of haemosiderin zones on SWI correlated with older patient age (p = 0.0003). Clinical severity (World Federation Neurosurgical Societies Score) showed a tendency towards a statistically relevant relationship (p = 0.07). No statistically significant relationship was identified between the number of haemosiderin zones and initial CT modified Fisher score (p = 0.34) or the causative aneurysm location (p = 0.37).

Conclusion: Susceptibility weighted imaging is sensitive in the detection of ASAH at 3 months, increasing in sensitivity with patient age and higher initial clinical severity.

Contribution: In patients presenting in the subacute to chronic phase with a clinically suspicious history of previous aneurysm rupture but without convincing CT or spectrophotometry evidence, SWI can detect previous rupture. This can identify patients who could benefit from endovascular treatment and those who can safely undergo follow-up imaging.


Keywords

aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage (ASAH); susceptibility weighted imaging (SWI); chronic aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage; endovascular coiling; haemosiderosis; intracranial aneurysm

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