CT Angiography of Peripheral Arterial Disease by 256-Slice Scanner: Accuracy, Advantages and Disadvantages Compared to Digital Subtraction Angiography

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Peripheral arterial occlusive disease (PAOD) may cause disabling claudication or critical limb ischemia. Multidetector computed tomography (CT) technology has evolved to the level of 256-slice CT scanners which has significantly improved the spatial and temporal resolution of the images. This has provided the capability of chasing the contrast bolus at a fast speed enabling angiographic imaging of long segments of the body. These images can be reconstructed in various planes and various modes for detailed analysis of the peripheral vascular diseases which helps in making treatment decision.


The aim of this retrospective study was to compare the CT angiograms (CTAs) of all cases of PAOD done by 256-slice CT scanner at a tertiary care vascular center and comparing these images with the digital subtraction angiograms (DSAs) of these patients.

Materials and Methods:

The retrospective study included 53 patients who underwent both CTA and DSA at our center over a period of 3 years from March 2013 to March 2016.


The CTA showed high sensitivity (93%) and specificity (92.7%) for overall assessment of degree of stenosis in a vascular segment in cases of aortic and lower limb occlusive disease. The assessment of lesions of infrapopliteal segment was comparatively inferior (sensitivity 91.6%, accuracy 73.3%, and positive predictive value 78.5%), more so in the presence of significant calcification. The advantages of CTA were its noninvasive nature, ability to image large area of body, almost no adverse effects to the patients, and better assessment of vessel wall disease. However, the CTA assessment of collaterals was inferior with a sensitivity of only 62.7% as compared to DSA. Overall, 256-slice CTA provides fast and accurate imaging of vascular tree which can restrict DSA only in few selected cases as a problem-solving tool where clinico-radiological mismatch is present.

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