Cross-sectional area for the calculation of carotid artery stenosis on computed tomographic angiography

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Abstract

Objective:

The use of cross-sectional area (CSA) measurements obtained from computed tomographic angiography (CTA) for the calculation of carotid artery stenosis has been suggested but not yet validated in a large population. The objective of this study was to determine whether CTA-derived CSA measurements were able to predict carotid stenosis with a level of confidence similar to CTA-derived diameter measurements, using Strandness criteria applied to carotid duplex ultrasound (CDUS) as a surrogate for true stenosis.

Methods:

A retrospective review was conducted to identify patients who underwent both CDUS and CTA between 2000 and 2009. Percent stenosis was calculated using the North American Symptomatic Carotid Endarterectomy Trial (NASCET) formula with diameter measurements and again with CSA measurements. A nonparametric correlation coefficient was calculated to detect correlation between the two groups. Two-dimensional receiver-operating characteristic curves with corresponding area under the curve (AUC) statistics were generated for >50% stenosis and >80% stenosis. Three-dimensional receiver-operating characteristic plots with corresponding volume under the surface (VUS) statistics were generated to measure the comparative accuracy of diameter-based and CSA-based stenosis for <50%, 50%-79%, and >80% stenosis.

Results:

A total of 575 vessels in 313 patients were included in the study. Spearman's correlation coefficient between diameter and CSA-derived stenosis was ρ = 0.938 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.927-0.947; P < .0001). For diameter-derived stenosis, AUC was 0.905 (95% CI, 0.878-0.932; P < .0001) for >50% stenosis and 0.950 (95% CI, 0.928-0.972; P < .0001) for 80%-99% stenosis. For CSA-derived percent stenosis, the AUC was 0.908 (95% CI, 0.882-0.935; P < .0001) for >50% stenosis and 0.935 (95% CI, 0.908-0.961; P < .0001) for 80%-99%. The nonparametric estimate for VUS in the diameter-based stenosis group was 0.761, whereas in the CSA-based group, the VUS was 0.735. The difference between VUS was 0.026 (95% CI, –0.022 and 0.077; P = .318).

Conclusions:

These data support the use of CTA as an accurate method of calculating carotid artery stenosis based on agreement with Strandness criteria applied to CDUS velocities. When additional imaging beyond CDUS is necessary, we report no significant difference between diameter and CSA measurements obtained from CTA for preoperative evaluation of carotid disease.

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