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Magnetic resonance angiography compared to intra-arterial digital subtraction angiography in patients with subarachnoid haemorrhage

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In order to evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) in spontaneous subarachnoid haemorrhage, 14 patients with recent haemorrhage verified by CT or lumbar puncture were investigated with both selective intra-arterial digital subtraction angiography (IA-DSA) and MRA by two independent teams, each having the same preangiographic information. The results were compared with each other and whenever possible (all positive cases except one) with those of surgical intervention. Seven patients were identified by MRA and IA-DSA as having a single aneurysm on the circle of Willis, 1 an aneurysm of the posterior inferior cerebellar artery 1 an aneurysm of the internal carotid artery (siphon) and 2 patients with two aneurysms on the circle of Willis. MRA and IA-DSA both failed to demonstrate aneurysms in 2 cases. Three patients had negative results on both methods and no surgical intervention was attempted. The aneurysms ranged from 0.3 to 1.5 cm in size. In most cases there was agreement between MRA and DSA, leading us to believe that, if the proper protocols are followed, MRA is a powerful alternative to other established methods in the detection of intracranial aneurysms. At this stage it will not replace IA-DSA prior to surgery, but the ability to obtain various projections using 3D MRA may improve surgical planning.

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Gouliamos, A., Gotsis, E., Vlahos, L. et al. Magnetic resonance angiography compared to intra-arterial digital subtraction angiography in patients with subarachnoid haemorrhage. Neuroradiology 35, 46–49 (1992). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00588278

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Key words

  • Aneurysm, cerebral
  • Cerebral angiography
  • Magnetic resonance angiography