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.