Brain Computed Tomography Angiography Maximum Intensity Projection Images for ASPECTS Derivation and Detection of Large Infarct Volumes: Preliminary Study

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Purpose: Non-contrast CT ASPECTS (NCCTasp) has an established role in determining eligibility for mechanical thrombectomy in centers without ready access to perfusion or DWI. Moreover, it has been suggested that CTA source ASPECTS (CTAasp) may be superior to NCCTasp in predicting final infarct volume (FIV). In this study, we hypothesized that CTA maximum intensity projection ASPECTS (MIPSasp) would be superior compared to both NCCTasp and CTAasp in predicting FIV as measured by DWI.

Materials and methods: In 41 consecutive patients with MCA territory infarcts, NCCTasp, CTAasp and MIPSasp were visually assessed by 2 neuroradiologists. Disagreements were adjudicated by a third neuroradiologist, and the reconciled data used for all further analysis. MR-DWI was used as the standard for FIV determination. Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis was used to compare the area under the curve for all three CT-based methods in predicting FIV ≥70 ml.

Results: MIPSasp (AUC: 0.98, CI: 0.88-1.00) were statistically better than NCCTasp (AUC: 0.87, 95% CI: 0.72-0.95; p=0.01) in predicting FIV ≥70 ml. MIPSasp were also superior to CTAasp (AUC: 0.9, CI: 0.79-.98; p˂0.05). Optimal test performance for predicting FIV ≥70 ml for MIPSasp was ≤6 (sensitivity=100%, specificity=91.4%; Youden's J=0.98).

Conclusion: Our preliminary study suggests that a novel CTA-MIPS derived ASPECTS better predicts large MCA territory infarcts compared to CTA source and non-contrast ASPECTS. Thus, MIPSasp may be a promising technique for future studies aimed at improving ischemic stroke treatment in centers using ASPECTS for stroke management.

Keywords: Brain ischemia; Computed tomography angiography.