A practical approach to CT angiography of the neck and brain.
Computed tomography angiography (CTA) is a rapidly developing technology with great potential. This is particularly true for evaluating neurovascular disease. Clinical stroke because of atherosclerotic disease of the carotid and vertebral arteries is a common examination indication; areas of stenosis, and soft and calcified plaque along the entire vessel, not only at the carotid bifurcation, permit a full assessment of the patient's disease process. Other diseases including dissection, trauma, intracranial stenosis, thrombosis, and aneurysms can be readily diagnosed. Although duplex ultrasound may be a first line examination in many patients, both magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) and CTA offer distinct advantages over it. CTA and MRA are both highly accurate but CTA has several key advantages. CTA has been advanced by the development of improved multidetector CT (MDCT) and workstations that postprocess the data. Methods to obtain quality CTA images and to rapidly analyze the data for abnormalities are the subject of this chapter. In addition, evolving techniques in future CT scanners and workstations, and developing methods of vulnerable plaque and CT perfusion imaging are discussed.
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