Background The role of catheter angiography in the diagnosis and management of traumatic cerebrovascular injury has evolved rapidly with advances in CT and MR angiography and continued development of endovascular techniques.
Objective To identify the modern spectrum of traumatic arterial injury encountered during catheter neuroangiography and to examine current patterns of endovascular treatment.
Methods Records of trauma patients undergoing catheter neuroangiography over a 4 year period at two high volume centers were retrospectively reviewed. The sample comprised 100 separate arterial lesions that were classified according to mechanism, location, acuity, and endovascular treatment. Follow-up imaging and clinical notes were reviewed to identify procedural complications.
Results Of 100 arterial lesions, 81% were related to blunt trauma. Distribution of lesions by location was 42% intracranial, 39% cervical, and 19% extracranial. The most common injuries were pseudoaneurysm (38%), fistula (29%), and dissection (19%). In total, 41% of lesions underwent endovascular treatment, with trends favoring treatment of non-acute, penetrating, non-cervical, and high grade lesions. Therapy involved coil embolization for 89% of treated lesions. There were a total of two immediate neurovascular complications and one delayed neurovascular complication; one of these resulted in a permanent neurological deficit.
Conclusions Our experience in a large cohort of patients suggests that a relatively high proportion of traumatic arterial lesions identified by catheter angiography are treated by endovascular means, with a low rate of immediate and delayed neurovascular complications.
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