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Neurology. 2004 Aug 10;63(3):457-60.

Evaluation of carotid stenosis using CT angiography in the initial evaluation of stroke and TIA.

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Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA.



Imaging of the carotid arteries is important for the evaluation of patients with ischemic stroke or TIA. CT angiography (CTA) of the head and neck is readily available and can be part of the routine imaging of stroke patients. To evaluate the accuracy of CTA, the authors compared the degree of stenosis found using CTA with digital subtraction angiography (DSA) in consecutive patients during a 3-year period.


The authors included all patients with interpretable CTA and DSA of the cervical carotid arteries from April 2000 to November 2002 at a single academic medical center. This yielded a total of 81 vessels. Stenosis on CTA of the internal carotid artery was measured in the axial plane at the point of maximum stenosis and referenced to the distal cervical internal carotid by two blinded readers. Two blinded readers measured stenosis from the DSA using the North American Symptomatic Carotid Endarterectomy Trial method.


Using a 70% cutoff value for stenosis, CTA and DSA were in agreement in 78 of 81 (96%; 95% CI, 90 to 99%) vessels. CTA was 100% sensitive (n = 5) and 63% specific (95% CI, 25 to 88%), and the negative predictive value of a CTA demonstrating <70% stenosis was 100% (n = 73).


In this consecutive series of patients with CT angiography of the neck and digital subtraction angiography, the authors found that CT angiography has a high sensitivity and high negative predictive value for carotid disease. CT angiography appears to be an excellent screening test for internal carotid artery stenosis, and the authors advocate its use for the initial imaging of patients with suspected stroke or TIA.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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