Thin-Slice Reconstructions of Nonenhanced CT Images Allow for Detection of Thrombus in Acute Stroke
Background and Purpose—The purpose of this study was to investigate whether thin-slice image reconstructions of cranial nonenhanced CT scans could be used to significantly increase sensitivity for detecting intraluminal thrombus in patients with acute ischemic stroke due to proximal occlusion of the middle cerebral artery.
Methods—In a prospective case series, the raw data of nonenhanced CT scans from 54 patients presenting with acute ischemic stroke and proven vascular obliteration of the middle cerebral artery were collected along with the same data from patients not having a stroke but the same sex and age. All raw data were reconstructed with a slice thickness of 5 mm and as thin slices with a thickness of 0.625 mm. Three observers independently evaluated the 5-mm nonenhanced CT reconstructions and 5-mm maximum intensity projections of the thin slices and rated the likelihood of a clot obliterating the middle cerebral artery trunk or first-order branches using a 5-point scale. The results were evaluated in comparison with base data using receiver operating curve analysis. Interobserver agreement was measured using Cohen κ for every pair of observers.
Results—The area under the curve for the receiver operating curve analysis for the thick slices ranged from 0.63 to 0.67, whereas for the maximum intensity projection images of the thin slice reconstructions, receiver operating curve analysis revealed areas under the curve between 0.94 and 0.97. Interobserver agreement was higher for thin-slice (κ, 0.69–0.83) versus thick-slice nonenhanced CT reconstructions (κ, 0.38–0.45).
Conclusions—Thin-slice reconstructions of standard cranial nonenhanced CT raw data allow for more sensitive and reliable detection of clots occluding the proximal middle cerebral artery.
- Received January 17, 2012.
- Revision received May 8, 2012.
- Accepted May 17, 2012.
- © 2012 American Heart Association, Inc.