Automated Carbon Dioxide Digital Angiography for Lower-Limb Arterial Disease Evaluation: Safety Assessment and Comparison With Standard Iodinated Contrast Media Angiography

Filippo Scalise, MD1;  Eugenio Novelli, PhD2;  Carla Auguadro, MD1;  Valentina Casali, MD1;Mariella Manfredi, MD1;  Romano Zannoli, PhD, EngD3
Issue Number: 
Volume 27 – Issue 1 – January, 2015 20-26

Carbon dioxide (CO2) has been validated as a contrast agent in a large series of studies. A particular advantage of CO2 over iodinated contrast medium (ICM) is the absence of nephrotoxicity and allergic reactions. One of the limitations of CO2 angiography is the difficulty of CO2 manual injection due to its compressibility. The manual gas injection does not permit optimal control of the gas output. Development of an automated CO2 injector has overcome these problems. Aim. This study compares the feasibility, safety, and diagnostic accuracy of automated CO2 digital subtraction angiography (DSA) in comparison with ICM-DSA in the evaluation of critical limb ischemic (CLI) patients. Methods. We performed DSA with both CO2 and ICM on 40 consecutive CLI patients and directly compared the two techniques. Sixteen females and 24 males participated in the study (mean age, 71.7 years). We assessed the diagnostic accuracy of CO2 in identifying arterial stenosis in the lower limb, with ICM-DSA used as the gold standard. Results. The overall diagnostic accuracy of CO2-DSA was 96.9% (sensitivity, 99.0%; specificity, 96.1%; positive predictive value, 91.1%; negative predictive value, 99.6%). Tolerable minor symptoms occurred in 3 patients. No allergic reactions or significant decline in renal function were observed in patients receiving the CO2 injection. Conclusion. Carbon dioxide DSA is a valuable and safe alternative to traditional ICM-DSA for evaluating CLI patients. This modality should be considered as the standard choice for CLI patients undergoing angiographic evaluation who are known to have renal insufficiency or contrast allergy.

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