The aim of the current study was to explore the whole-brain dynamic functional connectivity patterns in acute ischemic stroke (AIS) patients and their relation to short and long-term stroke severity. We investigated resting-state functional MRI-based dynamic functional connectivity of 41 AIS patients two to five days after symptom onset. Re-occurring dynamic connectivity configurations were obtained using a sliding window approach and k-means clustering. We evaluated differences in dynamic patterns between three NIHSS-stroke severity defined groups (mildly, moderately, and severely affected patients). Furthermore, we built Bayesian hierarchical models to evaluate the predictive capacity of dynamic connectivity and examine the interrelation with clinical measures, such as white matter hyperintensity lesions. Finally, we established correlation analyses between dynamic connectivity and AIS severity as well as 90-day neurological recovery (ΔNIHSS). We identified three distinct dynamic connectivity configurations acutely post-stroke. More severely affected patients spent significantly more time in a configuration that was characterized by particularly strong connectivity and isolated processing of functional brain domains (three-level ANOVA: p < .05, post hoc t tests: p < .05, FDR-corrected). Configuration-specific time estimates possessed predictive capacity of stroke severity in addition to the one of clinical measures. Recovery, as indexed by the realized change of the NIHSS over time, was significantly linked to the dynamic connectivity between bilateral intraparietal lobule and left angular gyrus (Pearson's r = -.68, p = .003, FDR-corrected). Our findings demonstrate transiently increased isolated information processing in multiple functional domains in case of severe AIS. Dynamic connectivity involving default mode network components significantly correlated with recovery in the first 3 months poststroke.
Bretzner M, Bonkhoff AK, Schirmer MD, Hong S, Dalca AV, Donahue KL, Giese A-K, Etherton MR, Rist PM, Nardin M, Marinescu R, Wang C, Regenhardt RW, Leclerc X, Lopes R, Benavente OR, Cole JW, Donatti A, Griessenauer CJ, Heitsch L, Holmegaard L, Jood K, Jimenez-Conde J, Kittner SJ, Lemmens R, Levi CR, McArdle PF, McDonough CW, Meschia JF, Phuah C-L, Rolfs A, Ropele S, Rosand J, Roquer J, Rundek T, Sacco RL, Schmidt R, Sharma P, Slowik A, Sousa A, Stanne TM, Strbian D, Tatlisumak T, Thijs V, Vagal A, Wasselius J, Woo D, Wu O, Zand R, Worrall BB, Maguire JM, Lindgren A, Jern C, Golland P, Kuchcinski G, Rost NS. MRI Radiomic Signature of White Matter Hyperintensities Is Associated With Clinical Phenotypes. Front Neurosci 2021;15:691244.Abstract
Objective: Neuroimaging measurements of brain structural integrity are thought to be surrogates for brain health, but precise assessments require dedicated advanced image acquisitions. By means of quantitatively describing conventional images, radiomic analyses hold potential for evaluating brain health. We sought to: (1) evaluate radiomics to assess brain structural integrity by predicting white matter hyperintensities burdens (WMH) and (2) uncover associations between predictive radiomic features and clinical phenotypes.
Methods: We analyzed a multi-site cohort of 4,163 acute ischemic strokes (AIS) patients with T2-FLAIR MR images with total brain and WMH segmentations. Radiomic features were extracted from normal-appearing brain tissue (brain mask-WMH mask). Radiomics-based prediction of personalized WMH burden was done using ElasticNet linear regression. We built a radiomic signature of WMH with stable selected features predictive of WMH burden and then related this signature to clinical variables using canonical correlation analysis (CCA).
Results: Radiomic features were predictive of WMH burden (R 2 = 0.855 ± 0.011). Seven pairs of canonical variates (CV) significantly correlated the radiomics signature of WMH and clinical traits with respective canonical correlations of 0.81, 0.65, 0.42, 0.24, 0.20, 0.15, and 0.15 (FDR-corrected p-values CV 1 - 6 < 0.001, p-value CV 7 = 0.012). The clinical CV1 was mainly influenced by age, CV2 by sex, CV3 by history of smoking and diabetes, CV4 by hypertension, CV5 by atrial fibrillation (AF) and diabetes, CV6 by coronary artery disease (CAD), and CV7 by CAD and diabetes.
Conclusion: Radiomics extracted from T2-FLAIR images of AIS patients capture microstructural damage of the cerebral parenchyma and correlate with clinical phenotypes, suggesting different radiographical textural abnormalities per cardiovascular risk profile. Further research could evaluate radiomics to predict the progression of WMH and for the follow-up of stroke patients' brain health.
BACKGROUND: White matter hyperintensity of presumed vascular origin is a risk factor for poor stroke outcomes. In patients with acute ischemic stroke, however, the in vivo mechanisms of white matter microstructural injury are less clear.
AIMS: To characterize the directional diffusivity components in normal-appearing white matter and white matter hyperintensity in acute ischemic stroke patients.
METHODS: A retrospective analysis was performed on a cohort of patients with acute ischemic stroke and brain magnetic resonance imaging with diffusion tensor imaging sequences acquired within 48 h of admission. White matter hyperintensity volume was measured in a semi-automated manner. Median fractional anisotropy, mean diffusivity, radial diffusivity, and axial diffusivity values were calculated within normal-appearing white matter and white matter hyperintensity in the hemisphere contralateral to the acute infarct. Linear regression analysis was performed to evaluate predictors of white matter hyperintensity volume and normal-appearing white matter diffusivity metrics.
RESULTS: In 319 patients, mean age was 64.9 ± 15.9 years. White matter hyperintensity volume was 6.33 cm3 (interquartile range 3.0-12.6 cm3). Axial and radial diffusivity were significantly increased in white matter hyperintensity compared to normal-appearing white matter. In multivariable linear regression, age (β = 0.20, P = 0.003) and normal-appearing white matter axial diffusivity (β = 37.9, P < 0.001) were independently associated with white matter hyperintensity volume. Subsequent analysis demonstrated that increasing age (β = 0.004, P < 0.001) and admission diastolic blood pressure (β = 0.001, P = 0.02) were independent predictors of normal-appearing white matter axial diffusivity in multivariable linear regression.
CONCLUSIONS: Normal-appearing white matter axial diffusivity increases with age and is an independent predictor of white matter hyperintensity volume in acute ischemic stroke.
Bonkhoff AK, Schirmer MD, Bretzner M, Hong S, Regenhardt RW, Brudfors M, Donahue KL, Nardin MJ, Dalca AV, Giese A-K, Etherton MR, Hancock BL, Mocking SJT, McIntosh EC, Attia J, Benavente OR, Bevan S, Cole JW, Donatti A, Griessenauer CJ, Heitsch L, Holmegaard L, Jood K, Jimenez-Conde J, Kittner SJ, Lemmens R, Levi CR, McDonough CW, Meschia JF, Phuah C-L, Rolfs A, Ropele S, Rosand J, Roquer J, Rundek T, Sacco RL, Schmidt R, Sharma P, Slowik A, Söderholm M, Sousa A, Stanne TM, Strbian D, Tatlisumak T, Thijs V, Vagal A, Wasselius J, Woo D, Zand R, McArdle PF, Worrall BB, Jern C, Lindgren AG, Maguire J, Bzdok D, Wu O, Rost NS. Outcome after acute ischemic stroke is linked to sex-specific lesion patterns. Nat Commun 2021;12(1):3289.Abstract
Acute ischemic stroke affects men and women differently. In particular, women are often reported to experience higher acute stroke severity than men. We derived a low-dimensional representation of anatomical stroke lesions and designed a Bayesian hierarchical modeling framework tailored to estimate possible sex differences in lesion patterns linked to acute stroke severity (National Institute of Health Stroke Scale). This framework was developed in 555 patients (38% female). Findings were validated in an independent cohort (n = 503, 41% female). Here, we show brain lesions in regions subserving motor and language functions help explain stroke severity in both men and women, however more widespread lesion patterns are relevant in female patients. Higher stroke severity in women, but not men, is associated with left hemisphere lesions in the vicinity of the posterior circulation. Our results suggest there are sex-specific functional cerebral asymmetries that may be important for future investigations of sex-stratified approaches to management of acute ischemic stroke.
Schirmer MD, Donahue KL, Nardin MJ, Dalca AV, Giese A-K, Etherton MR, Mocking SJT, McIntosh EC, Cole JW, Holmegaard L, Jood K, Jimenez-Conde J, Kittner SJ, Lemmens R, Meschia JF, Rosand J, Roquer J, Rundek T, Sacco RL, Schmidt R, Sharma P, Slowik A, Stanne TM, Vagal A, Wasselius J, Woo D, Bevan S, Heitsch L, Phuah C-L, Strbian D, Tatlisumak T, Levi CR, Attia J, McArdle PF, Worrall BB, Wu O, Jern C, Lindgren A, Maguire J, Thijs V, Rost NS. Brain Volume: An Important Determinant of Functional Outcome After Acute Ischemic Stroke. Mayo Clin Proc 2020;95(5):955-965.Abstract
OBJECTIVE: To determine whether brain volume is associated with functional outcome after acute ischemic stroke (AIS).
PATIENTS AND METHODS: This study was conducted between July 1, 2014, and March 16, 2019. We analyzed cross-sectional data of the multisite, international hospital-based MRI-Genetics Interface Exploration study with clinical brain magnetic resonance imaging obtained on admission for index stroke and functional outcome assessment. Poststroke outcome was determined using the modified Rankin Scale score (0-6; 0 = asymptomatic; 6 = death) recorded between 60 and 190 days after stroke. Demographic characteristics and other clinical variables including acute stroke severity (measured as National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score), vascular risk factors, and etiologic stroke subtypes (Causative Classification of Stroke system) were recorded during index admission.
RESULTS: Utilizing the data from 912 patients with AIS (mean ± SD age, 65.3±14.5 years; male, 532 [58.3%]; history of smoking, 519 [56.9%]; hypertension, 595 [65.2%]) in a generalized linear model, brain volume (per 155.1 cm3) was associated with age (β -0.3 [per 14.4 years]), male sex (β 1.0), and prior stroke (β -0.2). In the multivariable outcome model, brain volume was an independent predictor of modified Rankin Scale score (β -0.233), with reduced odds of worse long-term functional outcomes (odds ratio, 0.8; 95% CI, 0.7-0.9) in those with larger brain volumes.
CONCLUSION: Larger brain volume quantified on clinical magnetic resonance imaging of patients with AIS at the time of stroke purports a protective mechanism. The role of brain volume as a prognostic, protective biomarker has the potential to forge new areas of research and advance current knowledge of the mechanisms of poststroke recovery.
Background: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) serves as a cornerstone in defining stroke phenotype and etiological subtype through examination of ischemic stroke lesion appearance and is therefore an essential tool in linking genetic traits and stroke. Building on baseline MRI examinations from the centralized and structured radiological assessments of ischemic stroke patients in the Stroke Genetics Network, the results of the MRI-Genetics Interface Exploration (MRI-GENIE) study are described in this work. Methods: The MRI-GENIE study included patients with symptoms caused by ischemic stroke (N = 3,301) from 12 international centers. We established and used a structured reporting protocol for all assessments. Two neuroradiologists, using a blinded evaluation protocol, independently reviewed the baseline diffusion-weighted images (DWIs) and magnetic resonance angiography images to determine acute lesion and vascular occlusion characteristics. Results: In this systematic multicenter radiological analysis of clinical MRI from 3,301 acute ischemic stroke patients according to a structured prespecified protocol, we identified that anterior circulation infarcts were most prevalent (67.4%), that infarcts in the middle cerebral artery (MCA) territory were the most common, and that the majority of large artery occlusions 0 to 48 h from ictus were in the MCA territory. Multiple acute lesions in one or several vascular territories were common (11%). Of 2,238 patients with unilateral DWI lesions, 52.6% had left-sided infarct lateralization (P = 0.013 for χ2 test). Conclusions: This large-scale analysis of a multicenter MRI-based cohort of AIS patients presents a unique imaging framework facilitating the relationship between imaging and genetics for advancing the knowledge of genetic traits linked to ischemic stroke.
Selected patients with large vessel occlusions (LVO) can benefit from thrombectomy up to 24 hours after onset. Identifying patients who might benefit from late intervention after transfer from community hospitals to thrombectomy-capable centers would be valuable. We searched for presentation biomarkers to identify such patients. Frequent MR imaging over 2 days of 38 untreated LVO patients revealed logarithmic growth of the ischemic infarct core. In 24 patients with terminal internal carotid artery or the proximal middle cerebral artery occlusions we found that an infarct core growth rate (IGR) <4.1 ml/hr and initial infarct core volumes (ICV) <19.9 ml had accuracies >89% for identifying patients who would still have a core of <50 ml 24 hours after stroke onset, a core size that should predict favorable outcomes with thrombectomy. Published reports indicate that up to half of all LVO stroke patients have an IGR <4.1 ml/hr. Other potentially useful biomarkers include the NIHSS and the perfusion measurements MTT and Tmax. We conclude that many LVO patients have a stroke physiology that is favorable for late intervention, and that there are biomarkers that can accurately identify them at early time points as suitable for transfer for intervention.
Registration is a core component of many imaging pipelines. In case of clinical scans, with lower resolution and sometimes substantial motion artifacts, registration can produce poor results. Visual assessment of registration quality in large clinical datasets is inefficient. In this work, we propose to automatically assess the quality of registration to an atlas in clinical FLAIR MRI scans of the brain. The method consists of automatically segmenting the ventricles of a given scan using a neural network, and comparing the segmentation to the atlas ventricles propagated to image space. We used the proposed method to improve clinical image registration to a general atlas by computing multiple registrations - one directly to the general atlas and others via different age-specific atlases - and then selecting the registration that yielded the highest ventricle overlap. Finally, as an example application of the complete pipeline, a voxelwise map of white matter hyperintensity burden was computed using only the scans with registration quality above a predefined threshold. Methods were evaluated in a single-site dataset of more than 1000 scans, as well as a multi-center dataset comprising 142 clinical scans from 12 sites. The automated ventricle segmentation reached a Dice coefficient with manual annotations of 0.89 in the single-site dataset, and 0.83 in the multi-center dataset. Registration via age-specific atlases could improve ventricle overlap compared to a direct registration to the general atlas (Dice similarity coefficient increase up to 0.15). Experiments also showed that selecting scans with the registration quality assessment method could improve the quality of average maps of white matter hyperintensity burden, instead of using all scans for the computation of the white matter hyperintensity map. In this work, we demonstrated the utility of an automated tool for assessing image registration quality in clinical scans. This image quality assessment step could ultimately assist in the translation of automated neuroimaging pipelines to the clinic.
Giese A-K, Schirmer MD, Dalca AV, Sridharan R, Donahue KL, Nardin M, Irie R, McIntosh EC, Mocking SJT, Xu H, Cole JW, Giralt-Steinhauer E, Jimenez-Conde J, Jern C, Kleindorfer DO, Lemmens R, Wasselius J, Lindgren A, Rundek T, Sacco RL, Schmidt R, Sharma P, Slowik A, Thijs V, Worrall BB, Woo D, Kittner SJ, McArdle PF, Mitchell BD, Rosand J, Meschia JF, Wu O, Golland P, Rost NS. White matter hyperintensity burden in acute stroke patients differs by ischemic stroke subtype. Neurology 2020;95(1):e79-e88.Abstract
OBJECTIVE: To examine etiologic stroke subtypes and vascular risk factor profiles and their association with white matter hyperintensity (WMH) burden in patients hospitalized for acute ischemic stroke (AIS).
METHODS: For the MRI Genetics Interface Exploration (MRI-GENIE) study, we systematically assembled brain imaging and phenotypic data for 3,301 patients with AIS. All cases underwent standardized web tool-based stroke subtyping with the Causative Classification of Ischemic Stroke (CCS). WMH volume (WMHv) was measured on T2 brain MRI scans of 2,529 patients with a fully automated deep-learning trained algorithm. Univariable and multivariable linear mixed-effects modeling was carried out to investigate the relationship of vascular risk factors with WMHv and CCS subtypes.
RESULTS: Patients with AIS with large artery atherosclerosis, major cardioembolic stroke, small artery occlusion (SAO), other, and undetermined causes of AIS differed significantly in their vascular risk factor profile (all p < 0.001). Median WMHv in all patients with AIS was 5.86 cm3 (interquartile range 2.18-14.61 cm3) and differed significantly across CCS subtypes (p < 0.0001). In multivariable analysis, age, hypertension, prior stroke, smoking (all p < 0.001), and diabetes mellitus (p = 0.041) were independent predictors of WMHv. When adjusted for confounders, patients with SAO had significantly higher WMHv compared to those with all other stroke subtypes (p < 0.001).
CONCLUSION: In this international multicenter, hospital-based cohort of patients with AIS, we demonstrate that vascular risk factor profiles and extent of WMH burden differ by CCS subtype, with the highest lesion burden detected in patients with SAO. These findings further support the small vessel hypothesis of WMH lesions detected on brain MRI of patients with ischemic stroke.
White matter hyperintensities of presumed vascular origin (WMH) are a prevalent form of cerebral small-vessel disease and an important risk factor for post-stroke cognitive dysfunction. Despite this prevalence, it is not well understood how WMH contributes to post-stroke cognitive dysfunction. Preliminary findings suggest that increasing WMH volume is associated with total hippocampal volume in chronic stroke patients. The hippocampus, however, is a complex structure with distinct subfields that have varying roles in the function of the hippocampal circuitry and unique anatomical projections to different brain regions. For these reasons, an investigation into the relationship between WMH and hippocampal subfield volume may further delineate how WMH predispose to post-stroke cognitive dysfunction. In a prospective study of acute ischemic stroke patients with moderate/severe WMH burden, we assessed the relationship between quantitative WMH burden and hippocampal subfield volumes. Patients underwent a 3T MRI brain within 2-5 days of stroke onset. Total WMH volume was calculated in a semi-automated manner. Mean cortical thickness and hippocampal volumes were measured in the contralesional hemisphere. Total and subfield hippocampal volumes were measured using an automated, high-resolution, ex vivo computational atlas. Linear regression analyses were performed for predictors of total and subfield hippocampal volumes. Forty patients with acute ischemic stroke and moderate/severe white matter hyperintensity burden were included in this analysis. Median WMH volume was 9.0 cm3. Adjusting for intracranial volume and stroke laterality, age (β = -3.7, P < 0.001), hypertension (β = -44.7, P = 0.04), WMH volume (β = -0.89, P = 0.049), and mean cortical thickness (β = 286.2, P = 0.006) were associated with total hippocampal volume. In multivariable analysis, age (β = -3.3, P < 0.001) and cortical thickness (β = 205.2, P = 0.028) remained independently associated with total hippocampal volume. In linear regression for predictors of hippocampal subfield volume, increasing WMH volume was associated with decreased hippocampal-amygdala transition area volume (β = -0.04, P = 0.001). These finding suggest that in ischemic stroke patients, increased WMH burden is associated with selective hippocampal subfield degeneration in the hippocampal-amygdala transition area.
BACKGROUND: Patients who have had a stroke with unknown time of onset have been previously excluded from thrombolysis. We aimed to establish whether intravenous alteplase is safe and effective in such patients when salvageable tissue has been identified with imaging biomarkers.
METHODS: We did a systematic review and meta-analysis of individual patient data for trials published before Sept 21, 2020. Randomised trials of intravenous alteplase versus standard of care or placebo in adults with stroke with unknown time of onset with perfusion-diffusion MRI, perfusion CT, or MRI with diffusion weighted imaging-fluid attenuated inversion recovery (DWI-FLAIR) mismatch were eligible. The primary outcome was favourable functional outcome (score of 0-1 on the modified Rankin Scale [mRS]) at 90 days indicating no disability using an unconditional mixed-effect logistic-regression model fitted to estimate the treatment effect. Secondary outcomes were mRS shift towards a better functional outcome and independent outcome (mRS 0-2) at 90 days. Safety outcomes included death, severe disability or death (mRS score 4-6), and symptomatic intracranial haemorrhage. This study is registered with PROSPERO, CRD42020166903.
FINDINGS: Of 249 identified abstracts, four trials met our eligibility criteria for inclusion: WAKE-UP, EXTEND, THAWS, and ECASS-4. The four trials provided individual patient data for 843 individuals, of whom 429 (51%) were assigned to alteplase and 414 (49%) to placebo or standard care. A favourable outcome occurred in 199 (47%) of 420 patients with alteplase and in 160 (39%) of 409 patients among controls (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 1·49 [95% CI 1·10-2·03]; p=0·011), with low heterogeneity across studies (I2=27%). Alteplase was associated with a significant shift towards better functional outcome (adjusted common OR 1·38 [95% CI 1·05-1·80]; p=0·019), and a higher odds of independent outcome (adjusted OR 1·50 [1·06-2·12]; p=0·022). In the alteplase group, 90 (21%) patients were severely disabled or died (mRS score 4-6), compared with 102 (25%) patients in the control group (adjusted OR 0·76 [0·52-1·11]; p=0·15). 27 (6%) patients died in the alteplase group and 14 (3%) patients died among controls (adjusted OR 2·06 [1·03-4·09]; p=0·040). The prevalence of symptomatic intracranial haemorrhage was higher in the alteplase group than among controls (11 [3%] vs two [<1%], adjusted OR 5·58 [1·22-25·50]; p=0·024).
INTERPRETATION: In patients who have had a stroke with unknown time of onset with a DWI-FLAIR or perfusion mismatch, intravenous alteplase resulted in better functional outcome at 90 days than placebo or standard care. A net benefit was observed for all functional outcomes despite an increased risk of symptomatic intracranial haemorrhage. Although there were more deaths with alteplase than placebo, there were fewer cases of severe disability or death.
Background and purpose: Functional outcomes after ischaemic stroke are worse in women, despite adjusting for differences in comorbidities and treatment approaches. White matter microvascular integrity represents one risk factor for poor long-term functional outcomes after ischaemic stroke. The aim of the study is to characterise sex-specific differences in microvascular integrity in individuals with acute ischaemic stroke.
Methods: A retrospective analysis of subjects with acute ischaemic stroke and brain MRI with diffusion-weighted (DWI) and dynamic-susceptibility contrast-enhanced (DSC) perfusion-weighted imaging obtained within 9 hours of last known well was performed. In the hemisphere contralateral to the acute infarct, normal-appearing white matter (NAWM) microvascular integrity was measured using the K 2 coefficient and apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values. Regression analyses for predictors of K 2 coefficient, DWI volume and good outcome (90-day modified Rankin scale (mRS) score <2) were performed.
Results: 105 men and 79 women met inclusion criteria for analysis. Despite no difference in age, women had increased NAWM K 2 coefficient (1027.4 vs 692.7×10-6/s; p=0.006). In women, atrial fibrillation (β=583.6; p=0.04) and increasing NAWM ADC (β=4.4; p=0.02) were associated with increased NAWM K 2 coefficient. In multivariable regression analysis, the K 2 coefficient was an independent predictor of DWI volume in women (β=0.007; p=0.01) but not men.
Conclusions: In women with acute ischaemic stroke, increased NAWM K 2 coefficient is associated with increased infarct volume and chronic white matter structural integrity. Prospective studies investigating sex-specific differences in white matter microvascular integrity are needed.
Background and Purpose- We evaluated deep learning algorithms' segmentation of acute ischemic lesions on heterogeneous multi-center clinical diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data sets and explored the potential role of this tool for phenotyping acute ischemic stroke. Methods- Ischemic stroke data sets from the MRI-GENIE (MRI-Genetics Interface Exploration) repository consisting of 12 international genetic research centers were retrospectively analyzed using an automated deep learning segmentation algorithm consisting of an ensemble of 3-dimensional convolutional neural networks. Three ensembles were trained using data from the following: (1) 267 patients from an independent single-center cohort, (2) 267 patients from MRI-GENIE, and (3) mixture of (1) and (2). The algorithms' performances were compared against manual outlines from a separate 383 patient subset from MRI-GENIE. Univariable and multivariable logistic regression with respect to demographics, stroke subtypes, and vascular risk factors were performed to identify phenotypes associated with large acute diffusion-weighted MRI volumes and greater stroke severity in 2770 MRI-GENIE patients. Stroke topography was investigated. Results- The ensemble consisting of a mixture of MRI-GENIE and single-center convolutional neural networks performed best. Subset analysis comparing automated and manual lesion volumes in 383 patients found excellent correlation (ρ=0.92; P<0.0001). Median (interquartile range) diffusion-weighted MRI lesion volumes from 2770 patients were 3.7 cm (0.9-16.6 cm). Patients with small artery occlusion stroke subtype had smaller lesion volumes ( P<0.0001) and different topography compared with other stroke subtypes. Conclusions- Automated accurate clinical diffusion-weighted MRI lesion segmentation using deep learning algorithms trained with multi-center and diverse data is feasible. Both lesion volume and topography can provide insight into stroke subtypes with sufficient sample size from big heterogeneous multi-center clinical imaging phenotype data sets.
Background and Purpose- The ability to model long-term functional outcomes after acute ischemic stroke represents a major clinical challenge. One approach to potentially improve prediction modeling involves the analysis of connectomics. The field of connectomics represents the brain's connectivity as a graph, whose topological properties have helped uncover underlying mechanisms of brain function in health and disease. Specifically, we assessed the impact of stroke lesions on rich club organization, a high capacity backbone system of brain function. Methods- In a hospital-based cohort of 41 acute ischemic stroke patients, we investigated the effect of acute infarcts on the brain's prestroke rich club backbone and poststroke functional connectomes with respect to poststroke outcome. Functional connectomes were created using 3 anatomic atlases, and characteristic path-length () was calculated for each connectome. The number of rich club regions affected were manually determined using each patient's diffusion weighted image. We investigated differences in with respect to outcome (modified Rankin Scale score; 90 days) and the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS; early: 2-5 days; late: 90-day follow-up). Furthermore, we assessed the effect of including number of rich club regions and in outcome models, using linear regression and assessing the explained variance (R). Results- Of 41 patients (mean age [range]: 70 [45-89] years), 61% were male. Lower was generally associated with better outcome. Including number of rich club regions in the backward selection models of outcome, R increased between 1.3- and 2.6-fold beyond that of traditional markers (age and acute lesion volume) for NIHSS and modified Rankin Scale score. Conclusions- In this proof-of-concept study, we showed that information on network topology can be leveraged to improve modeling of poststroke functional outcome. Future studies are warranted to validate this approach in larger prospective studies of outcome prediction in stroke.
OBJECTIVE: To determine whether ascending arousal network (AAn) connectivity is reduced in patients presenting with traumatic coma.
METHODS: We performed high-angular-resolution diffusion imaging in 16 patients with acute severe traumatic brain injury who were comatose on admission and in 16 matched controls. We used probabilistic tractography to measure the connectivity probability (CP) of AAn axonal pathways linking the brainstem tegmentum to the hypothalamus, thalamus, and basal forebrain. To assess the spatial specificity of CP differences between patients and controls, we also measured CP within 4 subcortical pathways outside the AAn.
RESULTS: Compared to controls, patients showed a reduction in AAn pathways connecting the brainstem tegmentum to a region of interest encompassing the hypothalamus, thalamus, and basal forebrain. When each pathway was examined individually, brainstem-hypothalamus and brainstem-thalamus CPs, but not brainstem-forebrain CP, were significantly reduced in patients. Only 1 subcortical pathway outside the AAn showed reduced CP in patients.
CONCLUSIONS: We provide initial evidence for the reduced integrity of axonal pathways linking the brainstem tegmentum to the hypothalamus and thalamus in patients presenting with traumatic coma. Our findings support current conceptual models of coma as being caused by subcortical AAn injury. AAn connectivity mapping provides an opportunity to advance the study of human coma and consciousness.
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.
Prediction of functional outcome after stroke based on initial presentation remains an open challenge, suggesting that an important aspect is missing from these prediction models. There exists the notion of a protective mechanism called brain reserve, which may be utilized to understand variations in disease outcome. In this work, we expand the concept of brain reserve (effective reserve) to improve prediction models of functional outcome after acute ischemic stroke (AIS). Consecutive AIS patients with acute brain magnetic resonance imaging (<48 hours) were eligible for this study. White matter hyperintensity and acute infarct volume were determined on T2 fluid attenuated inversion recovery and diffusion weighted images, respectively. Modified Rankin Scale scores were obtained at 90days poststroke. Effective reserve was defined as a latent variable using structural equation modeling by including age, systolic blood pressure, and intracranial volume measurements. Of 453 AIS patients (mean age 66.6 ± 14.7 years), 36% were male and 311 hypertensive. There was inverse association between effective reserve and 90-day modified Rankin Scale scores (path coefficient -0.18 ± 0.01, P < .01). Compared to a model without effective reserve, correlation between predicted and observed modified Rankin Scale scores improved in the effective-reserve-based model (Spearman's ρ 0.29 ± 0.18 versus 0.15 ± 0.17, P < .001). Furthermore, hypertensive patients exhibited lower effective reserve (P < 10). Using effective reserve in prediction models of stroke outcome is feasible and leads to better model performance. Furthermore, higher effective reserve is associated with more favorable functional poststoke outcome and might correspond to an overall better vascular health.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Accurate automated infarct segmentation is needed for acute ischemic stroke studies relying on infarct volumes as an imaging phenotype or biomarker that require large numbers of subjects. This study investigated whether an ensemble of convolutional neural networks trained on multiparametric DWI maps outperforms single networks trained on solo DWI parametric maps.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Convolutional neural networks were trained on combinations of DWI, ADC, and low b-value-weighted images from 116 subjects. The performances of the networks (measured by the Dice score, sensitivity, and precision) were compared with one another and with ensembles of 5 networks. To assess the generalizability of the approach, we applied the best-performing model to an independent Evaluation Cohort of 151 subjects. Agreement between manual and automated segmentations for identifying patients with large lesion volumes was calculated across multiple thresholds (21, 31, 51, and 70 cm).
RESULTS: An ensemble of convolutional neural networks trained on DWI, ADC, and low b-value-weighted images produced the most accurate acute infarct segmentation over individual networks ( < .001). Automated volumes correlated with manually measured volumes (Spearman ρ = 0.91, < .001) for the independent cohort. For the task of identifying patients with large lesion volumes, agreement between manual outlines and automated outlines was high (Cohen κ, 0.86-0.90; < .001).
CONCLUSIONS: Acute infarcts are more accurately segmented using ensembles of convolutional neural networks trained with multiparametric maps than by using a single model trained with a solo map. Automated lesion segmentation has high agreement with manual techniques for identifying patients with large lesion volumes.
OBJECTIVE: The role of heparin in acute ischemic stroke is controversial. We investigated the effect of heparin on ischemic lesion growth.
METHODS: Data were analyzed on nonthrombolyzed ischemic stroke patients in whom diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI)/perfusion-weighted imaging (PWI) MRI was performed less than 12 hours of last known well and showed a PWI-DWI lesion mismatch, and who underwent follow-up neuroimaging at least 4 days after admission. Lesion growth was assessed by (1) absolute lesion growth and (2) percentage mismatch lost (PML). Univariate and multivariate regression analysis, and propensity score matching, were used to determine the effects of heparin on ischemic lesion growth.
RESULTS: Of the 113 patients meeting study criteria, 59 received heparin within 24 hours. Heparin use was associated with ∼5-fold reductions in PML (3.5% versus 19.2%, P = .002) and absolute lesion growth (4.7 versus 20.5 mL, P = .009). In multivariate regression models, heparin independently predicted reduced PML (P = .04) and absolute lesion growth (P = .04) in the entire cohort, and in multiple subgroups (patients with and without proximal artery occlusion; DWI volume greater than 5 mL; cardio-embolic mechanism; DEFUSE-3 target mismatch). In propensity score matching analysis where patients were matched by admission NIHSS, DWI volume and proximal artery occlusion, heparin remained an independent predictor of PML (P = .048) and tended to predict absolute lesion growth (P = .06). Heparin treatment did not predict functional outcome at discharge or 90 days.
CONCLUSION: Early heparin treatment in acute ischemic stroke patients with PWI-DWI mismatch attenuates ischemic lesion growth. Clinical trials with careful patient selection are warranted to investigate the potential ischemic protective effects of heparin.
To determine whether the rich-club organization, essential for information transport in the human connectome, is an important biomarker of functional outcome after acute ischemic stroke (AIS). Consecutive AIS patients ( = 344) with acute brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) (<48 h) were eligible for this study. Each patient underwent a clinical MRI protocol, which included diffusion weighted imaging (DWI). All DWIs were registered to a template on which rich-club regions have been defined. Using manual outlines of stroke lesions, we automatically counted the number of affected rich-club regions and assessed its effect on the National Institute of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) and modified Rankin Scale (mRS; obtained at 90 days post-stroke) scores through ordinal regression. Of 344 patients (median age 65, inter-quartile range 54-76 years) with a median DWI lesion volume (DWIv) of 3cc, 64% were male. We established that an increase in number of rich-club regions affected by a stroke increases the odds of poor stroke outcome, measured by NIHSS (OR: 1.77, 95%CI 1.41-2.21) and mRS (OR: 1.38, 95%CI 1.11-1.73). Additionally, we demonstrated that the OR exceeds traditional markers, such as DWIv (OR 1.08, 95%CI 1.06-1.11; OR 1.05, 95%CI 1.03-1.07) and age (OR 1.03, 95%CI 1.01-1.05; OR 1.05, 95%CI 1.03-1.07). In this proof-of-concept study, the number of rich-club nodes affected by a stroke lesion presents a translational biomarker of stroke outcome, which can be readily assessed using standard clinical AIS imaging protocols and considered in functional outcome prediction models beyond traditional factors.