Multidetector computed tomography (CT) assists in identifying causes of ischemic strokes, a new study has revealed.
An ischemic stroke occurs when blockage in an artery, often from a blood clot or a fatty deposit due to atherosclerosis, interrupts blood flow to an area of the brain.
Loic Boussel and colleagues analyzed the potential of multidetector CT - they compared a single-session multidetector CT examination of the heart, neck and brain vessels with established imaging methods in 46 patients who had recently experienced an ischemic stroke.
Multidetector CT detected cardiac sources of stroke in 18 of 25 cases, for a sensitivity of 72 percent. The technique's sensitivity increased to 100 percent for detection of major arterial atherosclerosis.
"Moreover, because it is quick, the exam is well tolerated, which is critical in acute stroke patients who may be unstable and agitated," Boussel said.
The CT protocol has two main limitations - it exposes the patient to a significant radiation dose and requires two intravenous contrast material injections to study the chest and neck areas.
Boussel said that advances in CT equipment technology could help reduce the radiation dose and the total amount of iodinated contrast material required. He said that advances in CT equipment technology could help reduce the radiation dose and the total amount of iodinated contrast material required.
The study is published online and in the January issue of Radiology.