Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2010 Aug;31(7):1290-6. doi: 10.3174/ajnr.A2075. Epub 2010 Apr 1.

The triple rule-out for acute ischemic stroke: imaging the brain, carotid arteries, aorta, and heart.

Author information

  • 1Department of Radiology, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA.



Ischemic stroke is commonly embolic, either from carotid atherosclerosis or from cardiac origin. These potential sources of emboli need to be investigated to accurately prescribe secondary stroke prevention. Moreover, the mortality in ischemic stroke patients due to ischemic heart disease is greater than that of age-matched controls, thus making evaluation for coronary artery disease important in this patient population. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the image quality of a comprehensive CTA protocol in patients with acute stroke that expands the standard CTA coverage to include all 4 chambers of the heart and the coronary arteries.


One hundred twenty patients consecutively admitted to the emergency department with suspected cerebrovascular ischemia undergoing standard-of-care CTA were prospectively enrolled in our study. We used an original tailored acquisition protocol using a 64-section CT scanner, consisting of a dual-phase intravenous injection of iodinated contrast and saline flush, in conjunction with a dual-phase CT acquisition, ascending from the top of the aortic arch to the vertex of the head, then descending from the top of the aortic arch to the diaphragm. No beta blockers were administered. The image quality, attenuation, and CNRs of the carotid, aortic, vertebral, and coronary arteries were assessed.


Carotid, aorta, and vertebral artery image quality was 100% diagnostic (rated good or excellent) in all patients. Coronary artery image quality was diagnostic in 58% of RCA segments, 73% of LAD segments, and 63% of LCX segments. When we considered proximal segments only, the diagnostic quality rose to 71% in the RCA, 83% in the LAD, and 74% in the LCX.


Our stroke protocol achieved excellent opacification of the left heart chambers, the cervical arteries, and each coronary artery, in addition to adequate carotid and coronary artery image quality.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Support Center