Objective: Computed tomographic angiography (CTA) is increasingly utilized to evaluate for traumatic cerebrovascular injury (TCVI). The purpose of this study was to determine the yield, management effect, and risk of stroke or poor outcome of a positive CTA in a large cohort of trauma patients. Patients and Methods: A retrospective analysis was performed on 1290 consecutive trauma patients that underwent head and/or neck CTA at our level I trauma center from 2006 to 2015. Clinical variables assessed include mechanism of injury, neurological status, CTA findings, subsequent imaging results, patient management, and clinical outcomes. Results: Among 1290 patients who underwent CTA, 200 (15.5%) were positive for TCVI, higher in blunt than penetrating trauma patients. In a generalized linear model, factors that increased likelihood of positive CTA included multiple cervical fractures, fractures with foraminal involvement, gunshot injury, Glasgow Coma Scale ≤ 13, and focal neurological deficit. Excluding cases with these factors lowered the positive rate to 4.3%. Of the 200 CTA-positives, 99 were treated for TCVI and 9 (4.5%) developed a subsequent stroke as compared to 5 (0.5%) in CTA-negative patients (odds ratio 10.2, Fisher exact test, p < 0.001). Risk of death or nursing facility discharge location was also higher in CTA-positive patients, correcting for age and presenting GCS (p < 0.01). Conclusion: CTA had a modest yield in identifying TCVI in this cohort. When positive, CTA influenced management and predicted an increased risk of subsequent stroke and poor outcome.
- Computed tomographic angiography
- Vascular injury