• Vol. 33 No. 5, 607–613
  • 15 September 2004

Audit of Diagnostic and Interventional Craniocervical Catheter Angiographic Procedures at the Singapore General Hospital



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Introduction: Catheter angiography is an established imaging modality of evaluating cerebral and head and neck vascular diseases. It is, however, an invasive procedure with a small risk of complications. The aim of our study was to evaluate the prevalence of peri-procedural complications in a local hospital setting.

Materials and Methods: A total of 88 patients underwent diagnostic and interventional craniocervical procedures over 6 months in our department. The casenotes of 83 patients were retrospectively reviewed for complications arising from a total of 99 procedures carried out.

Results: A new focal neurological deficit developed in 3 different patients after a procedure, giving a prevalence of 3.0%. All these occurred in diagnostic procedures and were permanent deficits with correlative computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance (MR) imaging findings of acute cerebral infarction. All these occurred in high-risk patients who had severe underlying cerebrocarotid vascular compromise. There was 1 case of contrast medium-induced nephropathy (1.0%), occurring in a patient with pre-existing renal impairment. Local complications included 1 case of iatrogenic external iliac artery dissection (1.0%) and 5 cases (5.1%) of small and uncomplicated puncture site groin haematomas.

Conclusion: The most significant complication associated with a craniocervical angiographic procedure was the development of post-procedural stroke in patients with significant preexisting cerebrocarotid vascular compromise. In the absence of this risk factor, craniocervical catheter angiography is a relatively safe procedure.

Catheter angiography has long been considered the diagnostic standard by which the accuracy of other vascular imaging modalities are compared, given its superior contrast and spatial resolution, as well its high selectivity and ability to show the full extent of vascular disease, presence of contralateral disease, patterns of collateral vessels, and its accuracy in depicting the dynamics of flow. It has established applications in neurological and head and neck imaging.

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