Non-contrast computed tomography in the diagnosis of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis
Aim: To investigate the sensitivity and specificity of non-contrast computed tomography (NCCT) in the diagnosis of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST).
Methods: Screening our neurological department database, we identified 53 patients who were admitted to neurological emergency department with clinical signs of CVST. Two independent observers assessed the NCCT scans for the presence of CVST. CT venography and/or MR venography were used as a reference standard. Interobserver agreement between the two readers was assessed using Kappa statistic. Attenuation inside the cerebral venous sinuses was measured and compared between the patient and the control group.
Results: CVST was confirmed in 13 patients. Sensitivity and specificity of NCCT for overall presence of CVST were 100% and 83%, respectively, with Kappa value of 0.72 (a good agreement between observers). The attenuation values between CVST patients and control group were significantly different (73.4 ± 14.12 HU vs. 58.1 ± 7.58 HU; p = 0.000). The ROC analysis showed an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.916 (95% CI, 0.827-1.00) and an optimal cutoff value of 64 HU, leading to a sensitivity of 85% and specificity of 87%.
Conclusions: NCCT as a first-line investigation has a high value for diagnosis of CVST in the emergency setting. The additional measurement of the sinus attenuation may improve the diagnostic value of the examination.
Keywords: cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, computed tomography, stroke