Vascular Imaging of the Head and Neck – Case A

This case is the first of four cases that go with the vascular capstone course. On that page, there is a scrollable case that you can go through to teach you how to approach a CTA of the head in a real patient.

This case is an 80 year-old woman who presented with altered mental status. Take a look and see what you think before continuing on.

The patient in this case has subarachnoid and parenchymal hemorrhage on a noncontrast CT. Because aneurysms and vascular malformations are possible causes of subarachnoid hemorrhage, we proceeded with vascular imaging, or a CT angiogram of the head, to look for aneurysms or other possible vascular causes. Remember, for an intracranial hemorrhage you don’t need the CTA of the neck because these don’t commonly have any pathology that can explain intracranial hemorrhage.

On the CTA, you see multiple abnormal outpouchings of the intracranial vessels, otherwise known as an aneurysm. Intracranial aneurysms are abnormal outpouchings of the vessels thatt contain all the layers of the vessel wall (true aneurysms). They have a risk of rupture of several percent per year, and can be treated with surgical clipping or endovascular methods such as coils. Remember, it is common for patients to have more than one aneurysm, as is seen in this case.

Once you’ve finished this video, I recommend going back to the vascular capstone course, where you can review the other browseable cases with explanations. The capstone overview is here, if you’d like to see all the cases and videos.

Or, see all of the vascular capstone videos in the vascular imaging capstone playlist.