Original Research

Accuracy of CT angiography for detecting ruptured intracranial aneurysms

Nomasonto N. Mkhize, Victor Mngomezulu, Thandi E. Buthelezi
South African Journal of Radiology | Vol 27, No 1 | a2636 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajr.v27i1.2636 | © 2023 Nomasonto N. Mkhize, Victor Mngomezulu, Thandi E. Buthelezi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 January 2023 | Published: 30 May 2023

About the author(s)

Nomasonto N. Mkhize, Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Victor Mngomezulu, Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa; and, Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, Johannesburg, South Africa
Thandi E. Buthelezi, Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa; and, Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, Johannesburg, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Digital subtraction angiography (DSA) is invasive, costly and unavailable in many South African hospitals; however, it remains the gold standard for imaging intracranial aneurysms. CT angiography (CTA) is a non-invasive and readily available screening tool prior to DSA.

Objectives: This study aimed to evaluate the diagnostic performance of CTA in detecting ruptured intracranial aneurysms using DSA as the reference standard and to determine the effect of aneurysm size and location on CTA sensitivity.

Method: A retrospective analysis of CTA and DSA data from reports of patients suspected to have aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH) at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital between January 2017 and June 2020.

Results: Conventional DSA detected aneurysms in 94 out of 115 patients; while of these, CTA detected 75 and missed 19. The CTA sensitivity, specificity and accuracy was 80%, 43% and 73%, respectively. The CTA sensitivity for aneurysms < 3 mm and 3 mm – 5 mm in size was 30% and 81.5%, respectively (p = 0.024). Sensitivity of CTA for posterior communicating artery (PComm) aneurysms was 56% and lower than other major anterior circulation locations (83% – 91%) (p = 0.045).

Conclusion: The CTA diagnostic efficiency was lower than previously reported, with even lower sensitivity for aneurysms < 3 mm and for those arising from the PComm. Thus, CTA should remain a screening tool prior to DSA in all local patients suspected to have aneurysmal SAH.

Contribution: Larger, prospective studies are required to accurately define the role of CTA in diagnosing intracranial aneurysms in a developing country with limited resources.


Keywords

digital subtraction angiography; DSA; computed tomography angiography; CTA; intracranial aneurysms; ruptured aneurysms; comparison; accuracy; diagnosis

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Crossref Citations

1. The current landscape of intracranial aneurysms in Africa: management outcomes, challenges, and strategies—a narrative review
Tomas Ferreira, Wireko Andrew Awuah, Joecelyn Kirani Tan, Favour Tope Adebusoye, Syed Hasham Ali, Hareesha Rishab Bharadwaj, Nicholas Aderinto, Carolina Fernandes, Muhammad Jawad Zahid, Toufik Abdul-Rahman
Neurosurgical Review  vol: 46  issue: 1  year: 2023  
doi: 10.1007/s10143-023-02102-4