Magnetic resonance angiography in suspected cerebral vasculitis
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The purpose of this study was to determine the technical capacity and diagnostic accuracy of 3D time-of-flight magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) in suspected cerebral vasculitis in a retrospective analysis of MRA and digital subtraction angiography (DSA) in 14 young patients with clinical and/or radiological suspicion of cerebral vasculitis. A total of nine arteries were evaluated in each patient. Consensus review of DSA by three observers was the reference standard. The sensitivity for detecting a stenosis varied from 62 to 79% for MRA and from 76 to 94% for DSA, depending on the observer. The specificity for detecting a stenosis varied from 83 to 87% for MRA and from 83 to 97% for DSA. Using the criterion “more than two stenoses in at least two separate vascular distributions” to consider the examination as being true positive, the false-positive rates for MRA and DSA were comparable. MRA plays a role as the first angiographical examination in the diagnostic work-up of suspected cerebral vasculitis. When more than two stenoses in at least two separate vascular distributions are depicted on MRA, DSA is not expected to add a significant diagnostic contribution in a patient with suspected cerebral vasculitis. DSA remains necessary when MRA is normal or when less than three stenoses are seen.
KeywordsMR angiography Vasculitis Stenosis
We are grateful to the W. Robberecht, MD, PhD, B. Dubois, MD, PhD and V. Thijs, MD, for referring the patients to the MR unit.
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