OBJECTIVE: Postmortem CT angiography is a common procedure used to visualize the entire human vasculature. For visualization of a specific organ's vascular anatomy, casting is the preferred method. Because of the permanent and damaging nature of casting, the organ cannot be further used as an experimental model after angiography. Therefore, there is a need for a minimally traumatic method to visualize organ-specific vascular anatomy. The purpose of this study was to develop and evaluate a contrast enhancement technique that is capable of visualizing the intracranial vascular anatomy while preserving the anatomic integrity in cadaver heads.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Seven human heads were used in this study. Heads were prepared by cannulating the vertebral and internal carotid arteries. Contrast agent was injected as a mixture of tap water, polyethylene glycol 600, and an iodinated contrast agent. Postmortem imaging was executed on a 64-MDCT scanner. Primary image review and 3D reconstruction were performed on a CT workstation.
RESULTS: Clear visualization of the major cerebral arteries and smaller intracranial branches was achieved. Adequate visualization was obtained for both the anterior and posterior intracranial circulation. The minimally traumatic angiography method preserved the vascular integrity of the cadaver heads.
CONCLUSION: A novel application of postmortem CT angiography is presented here. The technique can be used for radiologic evaluation of the intracranial circulation in cadaver heads. After CT angiography, the specimen can be used for further experimental or laboratory testing and teaching purposes.