Diffusion-weighted MR of acute cerebral infarction: Comparison of data processing methods

June Chong, Dongfeng Lu, Fatima Aragao, Michael B. Singer, Wouter J. Schonewille, Adam Silvers, Stanley Tuhrim, Scott W. Atlas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Some investigators have proposed that either calculated diffusion trace images or apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) maps, which require imaging with multiple diffusion sensitivities and/or postacquisition image processing, are essential for the accurate interpretation of diffusion-weighted images in acute stroke because of the possible pitfalls of regional diffusion anisotropy, magnetic susceptibility artifacts, and confounding T2 effects, all of which alter signal on diffusion-weighted MR images. The purpose of our study was to compare the sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of simple, orthogonal-axis diffusion- weighted imaging for the diagnosis of early cerebral infarction with three other sets of postacquisition-processed images: isotropic diffusion-weighted, diffusion trace-weighted, and diffusion trace images. METHODS: Twenty-six consecutive adult patients with signs and symptoms consistent with a clinical diagnosis of early cortical and/or subcortical cerebral infarction and 17 control subjects were studied with multisection, single-shot, spin-echo echo- planar diffusion-weighted imaging at 1.5 T to generate a set of three orthogonal-axis diffusion-weighted images. Isotropic diffusion-weighted, diffusion trace-weighted, and diffusion trace (mean ADC) images were then generated off-line and all four sets of images were interpreted blindly by two neuroradiologists. RESULTS: The average sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy for the orthogonal-axis diffusion-weighted images were 98.1%, 97.1%, and 97.7%, respectively. The average sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy for isotropic diffusion-weighted images were 88.5%, 100%, and 93% respectively. The average sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy for diffusion trace-weighted images were 82.7%, 73.6%, and 79.1%, respectively. The average sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy for diffusion trace images were 50.0%, 85.3%, and 64.0%, respectively. CONCLUSION: Orthogonal-axis diffusion-weighted images have the highest sensitivity and accuracy and very high specificity for early cerebral infarction. Our data contradict the contention that quantitative diffusion maps, requiring imaging with multiple diffusion sensitivities and/or subsequent image processing, are necessary for clinical stroke imaging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1733-1739
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Volume19
Issue number9
StatePublished - Oct 1998

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