Benefit of Cone-Beam CT Angiography in Visualizing Aneurysm Shape and Identification of Exact Rupture Site

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Abstract

While high-resolution cone-beam computational tomographic (CBCT) angiography has gained use in intracranial vascular imaging, digital subtraction angiography (DSA) and 3-dimensional-rotational angiography (3D-RA) remain the preferred acquisition modalities for intracranial aneurysm imaging. This case report highlights the utility of the greater spatial resolution afforded by CBCT for cerebral aneurysm imaging. A 54-year-old man presenting with subarachnoid hemorrhage was confirmed to harbor a ruptured anterior communicating artery aneurysm by conventional angiography. Due to varying contrast opacification captured by different acquisition methods, dramatic aneurysm shape difference was observed between 2- and 3-dimensional-angiographic and CBCT models. The greater resolution of CBCT revealed in an unequivocal fashion the exact site of rupture on the aneurysm dome, visualized as a discrete irregular and elongated bleb that was not seen on either 3D-RA or DSA. High-resolution CBCT visualized the shape of the target aneurysm in greater detail than the more conventional 2D-DSA and 3D-RA, enabling more precise computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations. Given that aneurysms most likely change shape either prior to rupture or upon rupture, future studies evaluating fluid dynamics using computer reconstructions should be cognizant of the differences in resolution provided by various imaging modalities.

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