Perfusion MRI

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Ona Wu, PhD FAHA

Associate Professor of Radiology, Harvard Medical School
Associate Neuroscientist, Massachusetts General Hospital
Director of Clinical Computational Neuroimaging, Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Dept of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital
The research goals of Dr. Wu’s group are to improve the diagnosis, prognosis and management of patients with brain injury by quantifying and monitoring... Read more about Ona Wu, PhD FAHA
p: 617-643-3873
Lorenzano S, Rost NS, Khan M, Li H, Batista LM, Chutinet A, Green RE, Thankachan TK, Thornell B, Muzikansky A, Arai K, Som AT, Pham L-DD, Wu O, Harris GJ, Lo EH, Blumberg JB, Milbury PE, Feske SK, Furie KL. Early molecular oxidative stress biomarkers of ischemic penumbra in acute stroke. Neurology 2019;93(13):e1288-e1298.Abstract
OBJECTIVES: To assess whether plasma biomarkers of oxidative stress predict diffusion-perfusion mismatch in patients with acute ischemic stroke (AIS). METHODS: We measured plasma levels of oxidative stress biomarkers such as F2-isoprostanes (F2-isoPs), total and perchloric acid Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC and ORAC), urinary levels of 8-oxo-7,8-dihydro-2'-deoxyguoanosine, and inflammatory and tissue-damage biomarkers (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, matrix metalloproteinase-2 and -9) in a prospective study of patients with AIS presenting within 9 hours of symptom onset. Diffusion-weighted (DWI) and perfusion-weighted (PWI) MRI sequences were analyzed with a semiautomated volumetric method. Mismatch was defined as baseline mean transit time volume minus DWI volume. A percent mismatch cutoff of >20% was considered clinically significant. A stricter definition of mismatch was also used. Mismatch salvage was the region free of overlap by final infarction. RESULTS: Mismatch >20% was present in 153 of 216 (70.8%) patients (mean [±SD] age 69.2 ± 14.3 years, 41.2% women). Patients with mismatch >20% were more likely to have higher baseline plasma levels of ORAC ( = 0.020) and F2-isoPs ( = 0.145). Multivariate binary logistic regression demonstrated that lnF2-isoP (odds ratio [OR] 2.44, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.19-4.98, = 0.014) and lnORAC (OR 4.18, 95% CI 1.41-12.41, = 0.010) were independent predictors of >20% PWI-DWI mismatch and the stricter mismatch definition, respectively. lnORAC significantly predicted mismatch salvage volume (>20% mismatch = 0.010, stricter mismatch definition = 0.003). CONCLUSIONS: Elevated hyperacute plasma levels of F2-isoP and ORAC are associated with radiographic evidence of mismatch and mismatch salvage in patients with AIS. If validated, these findings may add to our understanding of the role of oxidative stress in cerebral tissue fate during acute ischemia.
Sanchez Del Rio M, Bakker D, Wu O, Agosti R, Mitsikostas DD, Ostergaard L, Wells WA, Rosen BR, Sorensen G, Moskowitz MA, Cutrer FM. Perfusion weighted imaging during migraine: spontaneous visual aura and headache. Cephalalgia 1999;19(8):701-7.Abstract
Using perfusion weighted imaging, we studied 28 spontaneous migraine episodes; 7 during visual aura (n = 6), 7 during the headache phase following visual aura (n = 3), and 14 cases of migraine without aura (n = 13). The data were analyzed using a region-of-interest-based approach. During aura, relative cerebral blood flow (rCBF) was significantly decreased (27% +/- 0.07) in occipital cortex contralateral to the affected hemifield. rCBV was decreased (15% +/- 0.12) and mean transit time increased (32% +/- 0.3), persisting up to 2.5 h into the headache phase. Other brain regions did not show significant perfusion changes. During migraine without aura, no significant hemodynamic changes were observed. In one patient who experienced both migraine with and without aura, perfusion deficits were observed only during migraine with aura. These findings suggest that decremental blood flow changes in occipital lobe are most characteristic of migraine with aura.
Wu O, Koroshetz WJ, Ostergaard L, Buonanno FS, Copen WA, Gonzalez RG, Rordorf G, Rosen BR, Schwamm LH, Weisskoff RM, Sorensen AG. Predicting tissue outcome in acute human cerebral ischemia using combined diffusion- and perfusion-weighted MR imaging. Stroke 2001;32(4):933-42.Abstract
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Tissue signatures from acute MR imaging of the brain may be able to categorize physiological status and thereby assist clinical decision making. We designed and analyzed statistical algorithms to evaluate the risk of infarction for each voxel of tissue using acute human functional MRI. METHODS: Diffusion-weighted MR images (DWI) and perfusion-weighted MR images (PWI) from acute stroke patients scanned within 12 hours of symptom onset were retrospectively studied and used to develop thresholding and generalized linear model (GLM) algorithms predicting tissue outcome as determined by follow-up MRI. The performances of the algorithms were evaluated for each patient by using receiver operating characteristic curves. RESULTS: At their optimal operating points, thresholding algorithms combining DWI and PWI provided 66% sensitivity and 83% specificity, and GLM algorithms combining DWI and PWI predicted with 66% sensitivity and 84% specificity voxels that proceeded to infarct. Thresholding algorithms that combined DWI and PWI provided significant improvement to algorithms that utilized DWI alone (P=0.02) but no significant improvement over algorithms utilizing PWI alone (P=0.21). GLM algorithms that combined DWI and PWI showed significant improvement over algorithms that used only DWI (P=0.02) or PWI (P=0.04). The performances of thresholding and GLM algorithms were comparable (P>0.2). CONCLUSIONS: Algorithms that combine acute DWI and PWI can assess the risk of infarction with higher specificity and sensitivity than algorithms that use DWI or PWI individually. Methods for quantitatively assessing the risk of infarction on a voxel-by-voxel basis show promise as techniques for investigating the natural spatial evolution of ischemic damage in humans.
Yoshiura T, Wu O, Sorensen AG. Advanced MR techniques: diffusion MR imaging, perfusion MR imaging, and spectroscopy. Neuroimaging Clin N Am 1999;9(3):439-53.Abstract
Recent technical advances in MR imaging have enabled the authors to investigate early physiological changes in acute ischemic stroke lesion. Diffusion and perfusion MR imaging can provide clinically useful information not only for early detection of ischemia, but also for prediction of tissue outcome. MR spectroscopy is a potentially powerful tool to study acute stroke, but its clinical value has been limited due to long examination time and low spatial resolution.
Yamada K, Wu O, Gonzalez GR, Bakker D, Østergaard L, Copen WA, Weisskoff RM, Rosen BR, Yagi K, Nishimura T, Sorensen GA. Magnetic resonance perfusion-weighted imaging of acute cerebral infarction: effect of the calculation methods and underlying vasculopathy. Stroke 2002;33(1):87-94.Abstract
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Various calculation methods are available to estimate the transit-time on MR perfusion-weighted imaging (PWI). Each method may affect the results of PWI. Steno-occlusive disease in the parent vessels is another factor that may affect the results of the PWI. The purpose of this study was to elucidate the effect of the calculation methods and underlying vasculopathy on PWI. METHODS: From a pool of 113 patients who had undergone PWI during the study period, a total of 12 patients with nonlacunar ischemic strokes who were scanned within 24 hours after onset of symptom were selected for the study. The patient population consisted of 6 patients who had extracranial internal carotid artery stenosis (>70%) and 6 individuals without stenosis. Seven different postprocessing methods were evaluated: first moment, ratio of area to peak, time to peak (TTP), relative TTP, arrival time, full-width at half-maximum, and deconvolution methods. Follow-up MR or CT images were used to determine the areas that evolved into infarcts, which served as the gold standard. Sensitivity and specificity of each transit time technique were calculated. RESULTS: Calculation methods with high sensitivity were the first moment (sensitivity, 74%), TTP (sensitivity, 77%), and deconvolution methods (sensitivity, 81% to 94%). Between the 2 groups with and without internal carotid artery stenosis, the specificity of most of the techniques was lower in the internal carotid artery stenosis group. The first moment and deconvolution methods maintained relatively high specificity even in the stenosis group. CONCLUSIONS: The calculation technique and presence of underlying vasculopathy have a direct impact on the results of PWI. The methods with high sensitivity even in the presence of steno-occlusive disease were the first moment and deconvolution methods with arterial input function derived from the peri-infarct arteries; the deconvolution method was the superior choice because of higher lesion conspicuity.
Wu O, Østergaard L, Koroshetz WJ, Schwamm LH, O'Donnell J, Schaefer PW, Rosen BR, Weisskoff RM, Sorensen GA. Effects of tracer arrival time on flow estimates in MR perfusion-weighted imaging. Magn Reson Med 2003;50(4):856-64.Abstract
A common technique for calculating cerebral blood flow (CBF) and mean transit time (MTT) is to track a bolus of contrast agent using perfusion-weighted MRI (PWI) and to deconvolve the change in concentration with an arterial input function (AIF) using singular value decomposition (SVD). This method has been shown to often overestimate the volume of tissue that infarcts and in cases of severe vasculopathy to produce CBF maps that are inconsistent with clinical presentation. This study examines the effects of tracer arrival time differences between tissue and a user-selected global AIF on flow estimates. CBF and MTT were calculated in both numerically simulated and clinically acquired PWI data where the AIF and tissue signals were shifted backward and forward in time with respect to one another. Results show that when the AIF leads the tissue, CBF is underestimated independent of extent of delay, but dependent on MTT. When the AIF lags the tissue, flow may be over- or underestimated depending on MTT and extent of timing differences. These conditions may occur in practice due to the application of a user-selected AIF that is not the "true AIF" and therefore caution must be taken in interpreting CBF and MTT estimates.
Wu O, Østergaard L, Weisskoff RM, Benner T, Rosen BR, Sorensen GA. Tracer arrival timing-insensitive technique for estimating flow in MR perfusion-weighted imaging using singular value decomposition with a block-circulant deconvolution matrix. Magn Reson Med 2003;50(1):164-74.Abstract
Relative cerebral blood flow (CBF) and tissue mean transit time (MTT) estimates from bolus-tracking MR perfusion-weighted imaging (PWI) have been shown to be sensitive to delay and dispersion when using singular value decomposition (SVD) with a single measured arterial input function. This study proposes a technique that is made time-shift insensitive by the use of a block-circulant matrix for deconvolution with (oSVD) and without (cSVD) minimization of oscillation of the derived residue function. The performances of these methods are compared with standard SVD (sSVD) in both numerical simulations and in clinically acquired data. An additional index of disturbed hemodynamics (oDelay) is proposed that represents the tracer arrival time difference between the AIF and tissue signal. Results show that PWI estimates from sSVD are weighted by tracer arrival time differences, while those from oSVD and cSVD are not. oSVD also provides estimates that are less sensitive to blood volume compared to cSVD. Using PWI data that can be routinely collected clinically, oSVD shows promise in providing tracer arrival timing-insensitive flow estimates and hence a more specific indicator of ischemic injury. Shift maps can continue to provide a sensitive reflection of disturbed hemodynamics.
Dijkhuizen RM, Asahi M, Wu O, Rosen BR, Lo EH. Rapid breakdown of microvascular barriers and subsequent hemorrhagic transformation after delayed recombinant tissue plasminogen activator treatment in a rat embolic stroke model. Stroke 2002;33(8):2100-4.Abstract
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Thrombolytic therapy with recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rtPA) after stroke increases risk of hemorrhagic transformation, particularly in areas with blood-brain barrier leakage. Our aim was to characterize acute effects of rtPA administration on the integrity of microvascular barriers. METHODS: Stroke was induced in spontaneously hypertensive rats by unilateral embolic middle cerebral artery occlusion. Six hours after stroke, rtPA was intravenously administered (n=10). Controls received saline (n=4). Extravasation of the large-diameter contrast agent monocrystalline iron oxide nanocolloid (MION) was assessed with susceptibility contrast-enhanced MRI during rtPA injection. In addition, we performed perfusion MRI and diffusion-weighted MRI. After MRI, 2 hours after rtPA treatment, intracerebral hemorrhage was quantified with a spectrophotometric hemoglobin assay. RESULTS: Late rtPA treatment resulted in increased hemorrhage volume (8.4+/-1.7 versus 2.9+/-0.9 micro L in controls; P<0.05). In MION-injected animals, during rtPA administration, transverse relaxation rate change (DeltaR2*) increased from 12.4+/-6.0 to 31.6+/-19.2 s(-1) (P<0.05) in areas with subsequent hemorrhage. Significant DeltaR2* changes were absent in nonhemorrhagic areas, in animals without injected MION, and in saline-treated animals. Thrombolytic therapy did not improve perfusion in regions with hemorrhagic transformation (cerebral blood flow index was 22.8+/-19.7% [of contralateral] at 0.5 hours before and 22.4+/-18.0% at 1 hour after rtPA administration). CONCLUSIONS: The DeltaR2* changes during rtPA delivery in MION-injected animals indicate extravasation of MION, which reflects increased permeability of the blood-brain barrier. This implies that late rtPA treatment rapidly aggravates early ischemia-induced damage to microvascular barriers, thereby enhancing hemorrhagic transformation.
Gottrup C, Thomsen K, Locht P, Wu O, Sorensen GA, Koroshetz WJ, Østergaard L. Applying instance-based techniques to prediction of final outcome in acute stroke. Artif Intell Med 2005;33(3):223-36.Abstract
OBJECTIVE: Acute cerebral stroke is a frequent cause of death and the major cause of adult neurological disability in the western world. Thrombolysis is the only established treatment of ischemic stroke; however, its use carries a substantial risk of symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage. A clinical tool to guide the use of thrombolysis would be very valuable. One of the major goals of such a tool would be the identification of potentially salvageable tissue. This requires an accurate prediction of the extent of infarction if untreated. In this study, we investigate the applicability of highly flexible instance-based (IB) methods for such predictions. METHODS AND MATERIALS: Based on information obtained from magnetic resonance imaging of 14 patients with acute stroke, we explored three different implementations of the IB method: k-NN, Gaussian weighted, and constant radius search classification. Receiver operating characteristics analysis, in particular area under the curve (AUC), was used as performance measure. RESULTS: We found no significant difference (P = 0.48) in performance for the optimal k-NN (k = 164, AUC = 0.814 +/- 0.001) and Gaussian weight (sigma = 0.17, AUC = 0.813 +/- 0.001) implementations, while they were both significantly better (P < 1 x 10(-6) for both) than the constant radius implementation (R = 0.28, AUC = 0.809 +/- 0.001). Qualitative analyses of the distribution of instances in the feature space indicated that non-infarcted instances tends to cluster together while infarcted instances are more dispersed, and that there may not exist a stringent boundary separating infarcted from non-infarcted instances. CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that IB methods can be used, and may be advantageous, for predicting final infarct in patients with acute stroke, but further work must be done to make them clinically applicable.
van Osch MJ, Vonken E-JPA, Wu O, Viergever MA, van der Grond J, Bakker CJG. Model of the human vasculature for studying the influence of contrast injection speed on cerebral perfusion MRI. Magn Reson Med 2003;50(3):614-22.Abstract
Simulations of dynamic susceptibility contrast (DSC) MRI are frequently performed by assuming a certain shape for the input function and the microvascular response function. However, to investigate the influence of parameters that will affect the shape of the input function, a more complex model of the human vasculature is required. In this study, a model of the human vasculature is proposed that consists of a network of vascular operators based on physiological data typical of a 35-year-old male subject. The simulated contrast passage curves were found to be within the range of observed contrast passage curves in a population of patients without vascular disease. The model was used to predict the effect of different injection speeds of the contrast agent on the accuracy of the perfusion experiment. It was found that injection speeds of <3 ml/s lead to an underestimation of the observed cerebral blood flow (CBF). Additionally, it was determined that decreasing the temporal resolution of the acquisition results in an underestimation of the CBF values, and an increase of the standard deviation (SD) of CBF measurements.
Christensen S, Calamante F, Hjort N, Wu O, Blankholm AD, Desmond P, Davis S, Ostergaard L. Inferring origin of vascular supply from tracer arrival timing patterns using bolus tracking MRI. J Magn Reson Imaging 2008;27(6):1371-81.Abstract
PURPOSE: To investigate the potential of novel postprocessing and visualization techniques to distinguish presence of collateral flow using Bolus Tracking MRI. Collateral blood supply is believed to be of paramount importance in acute stroke, yet clinical evaluation is challenging as the gold standard digital subtraction angiography is often not feasible in the acute scenario. MATERIALS AND METHODS: In principle, bolus arrival delay data contains information about the route of blood supply into tissue and hereby presence of collateral flow patterns. We first examined the potential of current clinical bolus tracking protocols to accurately characterize bolus arrival delay. Using the simulation results, we analyzed bolus tracking data from one normal volunteer and one acute stroke patient. RESULTS: The bolus arrival patterns in the volunteer and in the normal hemisphere of the patient were found to be qualitatively similar and in good agreement with physiology. The bolus was seen to spread from the larger arteries toward the periphery. The stroke hemisphere in the patient indicated a retrograde direction of flow on the cortical mantle consistent with leptomeningeal vessels. CONCLUSION: Bolus tracking MRI can likely be used to distinguish collateral flow patterns from normal flow patterns.
Wu O, Christensen S, Hjort N, Dijkhuizen RM, Kucinski T, Fiehler J, Thomalla G, Röther J, Østergaard L. Characterizing physiological heterogeneity of infarction risk in acute human ischaemic stroke using MRI. Brain 2006;129(Pt 9):2384-93.Abstract
Viable tissues at risk of infarction in acute stroke patients have been hypothesized to be detectable as volumetric mismatches between lesions on perfusion-weighted (PWI) and diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DWI). Because tissue response to ischaemic injury and to therapeutic intervention is tissue- and patient-dependent, changes in infarct progression due to treatment may be better detected with voxel-based methods than with volumetric mismatches. Acute DWI and PWI were combined using a generalized linear model (GLM) to predict infarction risk on a voxel-wise basis for patients treated either with non-thrombolytic (Group 1; n = 11) or with thrombolytic therapy (Group 2; n = 27). Predicted infarction risk for both groups was evaluated in four ipsilateral regions of interest: tissue acutely abnormal on DWI (Core), tissue acutely abnormal on PWI but normal on DWI that either infarcts (Recruited) or does not (Salvaged), and tissue normal on both DWI and PWI that does not infarct (Normal) by follow-up imaging > or = 5 days. The performance of the models was significantly reduced for the thrombolysed group compared with the group receiving standard treatment, suggesting an alteration in natural progression of the ischaemic cascade. Average GLM-predicted infarction risk values in the four regions were different from one another for both groups. GLM-predicted infarction risk in Salvaged tissue was significantly higher (P = 0.02) for thrombolysed patients than for non-thrombolysed patients, suggesting that thrombolysis rescued tissue with higher infarction risk than typically measured in tissue that spontaneously recovered. The observed spatial heterogeneity of GLM-predicted infarction risk values probably reflects the varying degrees of tissue injury and salvageability that exist after stroke. MRI-based algorithms may therefore provide a more sensitive means for monitoring therapeutic effects on a voxel-wise basis.
Arkink EB, Bleeker EJW, Schmitz N, Schoonman GG, Wu O, Ferrari MD, van Buchem MA, van Osch MJ, Kruit MC. Cerebral perfusion changes in migraineurs: a voxelwise comparison of interictal dynamic susceptibility contrast MRI measurements. Cephalalgia 2012;32(4):279-88.Abstract
INTRODUCTION: The increased risk of cerebro- and cardiovascular disease in migraineurs may be the consequence of a systemic condition affecting whole body vasculature. At cerebrovascular level, this may be reflected by interictal global or regional cerebral perfusion abnormalities. Whether focal perfusion changes occur during interictal migraine has not been convincingly demonstrated. METHODS: We measured brain perfusion with dynamic susceptibility contrast magnetic resonance imaging (DSC-MRI) in 29 interictal female migraineurs (12 migraine with aura (MA), 17 migraine without aura (MO)), and 16 female controls. Perfusion maps were compared between these groups with a voxelwise (p < 0.001, uncorrected, minimum cluster size 20 voxels) and a region-of-interest approach. RESULTS: In whole brain voxelwise analyses interictal hyperperfusion was observed in the left medial frontal gyrus in migraineurs and in the inferior and middle temporal gyrus in MO patients, in comparison with controls. Hypoperfusion was seen in the postcentral gyrus and in the inferior temporal gyrus in MA patients and in the inferior frontal gyrus in MO patients. Additional focal sites of hyperperfusion were noted in subgroups based on attack frequency and disease history. Region-of-interest analyses of the pons, hypothalamus, occipital lobe, and cerebellum did not show interictal perfusion differences between migraineurs and controls. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that interictal migraine is characterized by discrete areas of hyper- and hypoperfusion unspecific for migraine pathophysiology and not explaining the increased vulnerability of particular brain regions for cerebrovascular damage.

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