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Can a CT scan without contrast detect an unruptured

aneurysm? My son has had...
Can a CT scan without contrast detect an unruptured aneurysm? My son has had severe headaches off and on, sometimes several in a week. He has had two CT scans in the ER, and nothing was found. But he continues to be plagued by the headaches. We are trying to get him into see a neurologist but have not been able to get an appointment yet. He is worried because the CT scan had no contrast. He thinks maybe something was missed.
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Answered in 10 minutes by:
8/23/2017
Dr. Muneeb Ali
Dr. Muneeb Ali, Intensivist
Category: Neurology
Satisfied Customers: 9,961
Experience: Experience of Neurology of over 4 years, well versed in EEG, NCS and EMG alongwith MRIs and CT scans
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Hi,

Welcome to JA and thanks for this question. Im sorry to hear about your sons symptoms. Actually unless the aneurysm is very large it will NOT be detected with a CT scan which has been done without contrast. Secondly if a aneurysm is suspected then a MUCH better test to look for it is either a CT angiography or a MRA (magnetic resonance angiography). These two tests will DEFINITELY pick up on any aneurysms if they are present inside the brain.

However at the same time headaches are not necessarily due to aneurysms, there are literally hundreds of causes for generalized headaches ranging from migraines to neuralgias and none of them would show up on any imaging test. They are usually diagnosed on clinical examination. However if he is having recurrent and p[ersistent headaches for some time now, i do agree with you that he NEEDS to get a MRI of the brain done (which too can pick up on aneurysms if done with contrast). I would advise going for a MRI instead of a CT this time and with contrast.

Do you have any more questions?

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
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Dr. Muneeb Ali
Dr. Muneeb Ali, Intensivist
Category: Neurology
Satisfied Customers: 9,961
Experience: Experience of Neurology of over 4 years, well versed in EEG, NCS and EMG alongwith MRIs and CT scans
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