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MRA versus DSA for the follow-up imaging of intracranial aneurysms treated using endovascular techniques: a meta-analysis


Background Treated aneurysms must be followed over time to ensure durable occlusion, as more than 20% of endovascularly treated aneurysms recur. While digital subtraction angiography (DSA) remains the gold standard, magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) is attractive as a non-invasive follow-up technique. Two different MRA techniques have traditionally been used: time-of-flight (TOF) and contrast-enhanced (CE) MRA. We analysed data from studies comparing MRA techniques with DSA for the follow-up of aneurysms undergoing endovascular treatment. Subgroup analysis of stent-assisted coiling (SAC) and flow diversion (FD) techniques was completed.

Methods Comprehensive searches using the Embase, PubMed, and Cochrane databases were performed and updated to November 2018. Pooled sensitivity and specificity were calculated using aneurysm occlusion status as defined by the Raymond–Roy occlusion grading scale.

Results The literature search yielded 1579 unique titles. Forty-three studies were included. For TOF-MRA, sensitivity and specificity of all aneurysms undergoing endovascular therapy were 88% and 94%, respectively. For CE-MRA, the sensitivity and specificity were 88% and 96%, respectively. For SAC and FD techniques, sensitivity and specificity of TOF-MRA were 86% and 95%, respectively. CE-MRA had sensitivity and specificity of 90% and 92%.

Conclusion MRA is a reliable modality for the follow-up of aneurysms treated using endovascular techniques. While the data are limited, MRA techniques can also be used to reliably follow patients undergoing FD and SAC. However, clinical factors must be used to optimize follow-up regimens for individual patients.

  • Aneurysm
  • Angiography
  • Magnetic Resonance Angiography
  • Coil
  • Flow Diverter

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