White matter hyperintensity (WMH) is a common phenotype across a variety of neurological diseases, particularly prevalent in stroke patients; however, vascular territory dependent variation in WMH burden has not yet been identified. Here, we sought to investigate the spatial specificity of WMH burden in patients with acute ischemic stroke (AIS). We created a novel age-appropriate high-resolution brain template and anatomically delineated the cerebral vascular territories. We used WMH masks derived from the clinical T2 Fluid Attenuated Inverse Recovery (FLAIR) MRI scans and spatial normalization of the template to discriminate between WMH volume within each subject's anterior cerebral artery (ACA), middle cerebral artery (MCA), and posterior cerebral artery (PCA) territories. Linear regression modeling including age, sex, common vascular risk factors, and TOAST stroke subtypes was used to assess for spatial specificity of WMH volume (WMHv) in a cohort of 882 AIS patients. Mean age of this cohort was 65.23 ± 14.79 years, 61.7% were male, 63.6% were hypertensive, 35.8% never smoked. Mean WMHv was 11.58c ± 13.49 cc. There were significant differences in territory-specific, relative to global, WMH burden. In contrast to PCA territory, age (0.018 ± 0.002, < 0.001) and small-vessel stroke subtype (0.212 ± 0.098, < 0.001) were associated with relative increase of WMH burden within the anterior (ACA and MCA) territories, whereas male sex (-0.275 ± 0.067, < 0.001) was associated with a relative decrease in WMHv. Our data establish the spatial specificity of WMH distribution in relation to vascular territory and risk factor exposure in AIS patients and offer new insights into the underlying pathology.
OBJECTIVE: Radiologic predictors of posttraumatic amnesia (PTA) duration are lacking. We hypothesized that the number and distribution of traumatic microbleeds (TMBs) detected by gradient recalled echo (GRE) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) predicts PTA duration.
SETTING: Academic, tertiary medical center.
PARTICIPANTS: Adults with traumatic brain injury (TBI).
DESIGN: We identified 65 TBI patients with acute GRE MRI. PTA duration was determined with the Galveston Orientation and Amnesia Test, Orientation Log, or chart review. TMBs were identified within memory regions (hippocampus, corpus callosum, fornix, thalamus, and temporal lobe) and control regions (internal capsule and global). Regression tree analysis was performed to identify radiologic predictors of PTA duration, controlling for clinical PTA predictors.
MAIN MEASURES: TMB distribution, PTA duration.
RESULTS: Sixteen patients (25%) had complicated mild, 4 (6%) had moderate, and 45 (69%) had severe TBI. Median PTA duration was 43 days (range, 0-240 days). In univariate analysis, PTA duration correlated with TMBs in the corpus callosum (R = 0.29, P = .02) and admission Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score (R = -0.34, P = .01). In multivariate regression analysis, admission GCS score was the only significant contributor to PTA duration. However, in regression tree analysis, hippocampal TMBs, callosal TMBs, age, and admission GCS score explained 26% of PTA duration variance and distinguished a subgroup with prolonged PTA.
CONCLUSIONS: Hippocampal and callosal TMBs are potential radiologic predictors of PTA duration.
White matter hyperintensity (WMH) burden is a critically important cerebrovascular phenotype linked to prediction of diagnosis and prognosis of diseases, such as acute ischemic stroke (AIS). However, current approaches to its quantification on clinical MRI often rely on time intensive manual delineation of the disease on T2 fluid attenuated inverse recovery (FLAIR), which hinders high-throughput analyses such as genetic discovery. In this work, we present a fully automated pipeline for quantification of WMH in clinical large-scale studies of AIS. The pipeline incorporates automated brain extraction, intensity normalization and WMH segmentation using spatial priors. We first propose a brain extraction algorithm based on a fully convolutional deep learning architecture, specifically designed for clinical FLAIR images. We demonstrate that our method for brain extraction outperforms two commonly used and publicly available methods on clinical quality images in a set of 144 subject scans across 12 acquisition centers, based on dice coefficient (median 0.95; inter-quartile range 0.94-0.95; p < 0.01) and Pearson correlation of total brain volume (r = 0.90). Subsequently, we apply it to the large-scale clinical multi-site MRI-GENIE study (N = 2783) and identify a decrease in total brain volume of -2.4 cc/year. Additionally, we show that the resulting total brain volumes can successfully be used for quality control of image preprocessing. Finally, we obtain WMH volumes by building on an existing automatic WMH segmentation algorithm that delineates and distinguishes between different cerebrovascular pathologies. The learning method mimics expert knowledge of the spatial distribution of the WMH burden using a convolutional auto-encoder. This enables successful computation of WMH volumes of 2533 clinical AIS patients. We utilize these results to demonstrate the increase of WMH burden with age (0.950 cc/year) and show that single site estimates can be biased by the number of subjects recruited.
Chronic white matter structural injury is a risk factor for poor long-term outcomes after acute ischemic stroke (AIS). However, it is unclear how white matter structural injury predisposes to poor outcomes after AIS. To explore this question, in 42 AIS patients with moderate to severe white matter hyperintensity (WMH) burden, we characterized WMH and normal-appearing white matter (NAWM) diffusivity anisotropy metrics in the hemisphere contralateral to acute ischemia in relation to ischemic tissue and early functional outcomes. All patients underwent brain MRI with dynamic susceptibility contrast perfusion and diffusion tensor imaging within 12 h and at day 3-5 post stroke. Early neurological outcomes were measured as the change in NIH Stroke Scale score from admission to day 3-5 post stroke. Target mismatch profile, percent mismatch lost, infarct growth, and rates of good perfusion were measured to assess ischemic tissue outcomes. NAWM mean diffusivity was significantly lower in the group with early neurological improvement (ENI, 0.79 vs. 0.82 × 10, mm/s; P = 0.02). In multivariable logistic regression, NAWM mean diffusivity was an independent radiographic predictor of ENI (β = - 17.6, P = 0.037). Median infarct growth was 118% (IQR 26.8-221.9%) despite good reperfusion being observed in 65.6% of the cohort. NAWM and WMH diffusivity metrics were not associated with target mismatch profile, percent mismatch lost, or infarct growth. Our results suggest that, in AIS patients, white matter structural integrity is associated with poor early neurological outcomes independent of ischemic tissue outcomes.
Brain damage can occasionally result in paradoxical functional benefit, which could help identify therapeutic targets for neuromodulation. However, these beneficial lesions are rare and lesions in multiple different brain locations can improve the same symptom. Using a technique called lesion network mapping, we show that heterogeneous lesion locations resulting in tremor relief are all connected to common nodes in the cerebellum and thalamus, the latter of which is a proven deep brain stimulation target for tremor. These results suggest that lesion network mapping can identify the common substrate underlying therapeutic lesions and effective therapeutic targets. Ann Neurol 2018;83:153-157.
OBJECTIVE: Most acute ischemic stroke (AIS) patients with unwitnessed symptom onset are ineligible for intravenous thrombolysis due to timing alone. Lesion evolution on fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) correlates with stroke duration, and quantitative mismatch of diffusion-weighted MRI with FLAIR (qDFM) might indicate stroke duration within guideline-recommended thrombolysis. We tested whether intravenous thrombolysis ≤4.5 hours from the time of symptom discovery is safe in patients with qDFM in an open-label, phase 2a, prospective study (NCT01282242).
METHODS: Patients aged 18 to 85 years with AIS of unwitnessed onset at 4.5 to 24 hours since they were last known to be well, treatable within 4.5 hours of symptom discovery with intravenous alteplase (0.9mg/kg), and presenting with qDFM were screened across 14 hospitals. The primary outcome was the risk of symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage (sICH) with preplanned stopping rules. Secondary outcomes included symptomatic brain edema risk, and functional outcomes of 90-day modified Rankin Scale (mRS).
RESULTS: Eighty subjects were enrolled between January 31, 2011 and October 4, 2015 and treated with alteplase at median 11.2 hours (IQR = 9.5-13.3) from when they were last known to be well. There was 1 sICH (1.3%) and 3 cases of symptomatic edema (3.8%). At 90 days, 39% of subjects achieved mRS = 0-1, as did 48% of subjects who had vessel imaging and were without large vessel occlusions.
INTERPRETATION: Intravenous thrombolysis within 4.5 hours of symptom discovery in patients with unwitnessed stroke selected by qDFM, who are beyond the recommended time windows, is safe. A randomized trial testing efficacy using qDFM appears feasible and is warranted in patients without large vessel occlusions. Ann Neurol 2018;83:980-993.
Integrity of the default mode network (DMN) is believed to be essential for human consciousness. However, the effects of acute severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) on DMN functional connectivity are poorly understood. Furthermore, the temporal dynamics of DMN reemergence during recovery of consciousness have not been studied longitudinally in patients with acute severe TBI. We performed resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) to measure DMN connectivity in 17 patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) with acute severe TBI and in 16 healthy control subjects. Eight patients returned for follow-up rs-fMRI and behavioral assessment six months post-injury. At each time point, we analyzed DMN connectivity by measuring intra-network correlations (i.e. positive correlations between DMN nodes) and inter-network anticorrelations (i.e. negative correlations between the DMN and other resting-state networks). All patients were comatose upon arrival to the ICU and had a disorder of consciousness (DoC) at the time of acute rs-fMRI (9.2 ± 4.6 days post-injury): 2 coma, 4 unresponsive wakefulness syndrome, 7 minimally conscious state, and 4 post-traumatic confusional state. We found that, while DMN anticorrelations were absent in patients with acute DoC, patients who recovered from coma to a minimally conscious or confusional state while in the ICU showed partially preserved DMN correlations. Patients who remained in coma or unresponsive wakefulness syndrome in the ICU showed no DMN correlations. All eight patients assessed longitudinally recovered beyond the confusional state by 6 months post-injury and showed normal DMN correlations and anticorrelations, indistinguishable from those of healthy subjects. Collectively, these findings suggest that recovery of consciousness after acute severe TBI is associated with partial preservation of DMN correlations in the ICU, followed by long-term normalization of DMN correlations and anticorrelations. Both intra-network DMN correlations and inter-network DMN anticorrelations may be necessary for full recovery of consciousness after acute severe TBI.
Background and aims: Assessment of ischemic lesions on computed tomography or MRI diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) using the Alberta Stroke Program Early Computed Tomography Score (ASPECTS) is widely used to guide acute stroke treatment. However, it has never been defined how many voxels need to be affected to label a DWI-ASPECTS region ischemic. We aimed to assess the effect of various lesion load thresholds on DWI-ASPECTS and compare this automated analysis with visual rating.
Materials and methods: We analyzed overlap of individual DWI lesions of 315 patients from the previously published predictive value of fluid-attenuated inversion recovery study with a probabilistic ASPECTS template derived from 221 CT images. We applied multiple lesion load thresholds per DWI-ASPECTS region (>0, >1, >10, and >20% in each DWI-ASPECTS region) to compute DWI-ASPECTS for each patient and compared the results to visual reading by an experienced stroke neurologist.
Results: By visual rating, median ASPECTS was 9, 84 patients had a DWI-ASPECTS score ≤7. Mean DWI lesion volume was 22.1 (±35) ml. In contrast, by use of >0, >1-, >10-, and >20%-thresholds, median DWI-ASPECTS was 1, 5, 8, and 10; 97.1% (306), 72.7% (229), 41% (129), and 25.7% (81) had DWI-ASPECTS ≤7, respectively. Overall agreement between automated assessment and visual rating was low for every threshold used (>0%: κ = 0.020 1%: κ = 0.151; 10%: κ = 0.386; 20% κ = 0.381). Agreement for dichotomized DWI-ASPECTS ranged from fair to substantial (≤7: >10% κ = 0.48; >20% κ = 0.45; ≤5: >10% κ = 0.528; and >20% κ = 0.695).
Conclusion: Overall agreement between automated and the standard used visual scoring is low regardless of the lesion load threshold used. However, dichotomized scoring achieved more comparable results. Varying lesion load thresholds had a critical impact on patient selection by ASPECTS. Of note, the relatively low lesion volume and lack of patients with large artery occlusion in our cohort may limit generalizability of these findings.
Despite the proven efficacy of intravenous alteplase or endovascular thrombectomy for the treatment of patients with acute ischemic stroke, only a minority receive these treatments. This low treatment rate is due in large part to delay in hospital arrival or uncertainty as to the exact time of onset of ischemic stroke, which renders patients outside the current guideline-recommended window of eligibility for receiving these therapeutics. However, recent pivotal clinical trials of late-window thrombectomy now force us to rethink the value of a simplistic chronological formulation that "time is brain." We must recognize a more nuanced concept that the rate of tissue death as a function of time is not invariant, that still salvageable tissue at risk of infarction may be present up to 24 h after last-known well, and that those patients may strongly benefit from reperfusion. Multiple studies have sought to address this clinical dilemma using neuroimaging methods to identify a radiographic time-stamp of stroke onset or evidence of salvageable ischemic tissue and thereby increase the number of patients eligible for reperfusion therapies. In this review, we provide a critical analysis of the current state of neuroimaging techniques to select patients with unwitnessed stroke for revascularization therapies and speculate on the future direction of this clinically relevant area of stroke research.
Cerebrovascular disease (CVD) remains a leading cause of death and the leading cause of adult disability in most developed countries. This work summarizes state-of-the-art, and possible future, diagnostic and evaluation approaches in multiple stages of CVD, including (i) visualization of sub-clinical disease processes, (ii) acute stroke theranostics, and (iii) characterization of post-stroke recovery mechanisms. Underlying pathophysiology as it relates to large vessel steno-occlusive disease and the impact of this macrovascular disease on tissue-level viability, hemodynamics (cerebral blood flow, cerebral blood volume, and mean transit time), and metabolism (cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen consumption and pH) are also discussed in the context of emerging neuroimaging protocols with sensitivity to these factors. The overall purpose is to highlight advancements in stroke care and diagnostics and to provide a general overview of emerging research topics that have potential for reducing morbidity in multiple areas of CVD.
We sought to investigate the relationship between blood-brain barrier (BBB) permeability and microstructural white matter integrity, and their potential impact on long-term functional outcomes in patients with acute ischemic stroke (AIS). We studied 184 AIS subjects with perfusion-weighted MRI (PWI) performed <9 h from last known well time. White matter hyperintensity (WMH), acute infarct, and PWI-derived mean transit time lesion volumes were calculated. Mean BBB leakage rates (K2 coefficient) and mean diffusivity values were measured in contralesional normal-appearing white matter (NAWM). Plasma matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) levels were studied at baseline and 48 h. Admission stroke severity was evaluated using the NIH Stroke Scale (NIHSS). Modified Rankin Scale (mRS) was obtained at 90-days post-stroke. We found that higher mean K2 and diffusivity values correlated with age, elevated baseline MMP-2 levels, greater NIHSS and worse 90-day mRS (all p < 0.05). In multivariable analysis, WMH volume was associated with mean K2 ( p = 0.0007) and diffusivity ( p = 0.006) values in contralesional NAWM. In summary, WMH severity measured on brain MRI of AIS patients is associated with metrics of increased BBB permeability and abnormal white matter microstructural integrity. In future studies, these MRI markers of diffuse cerebral microvascular dysfunction may improve prediction of cerebral tissue infarction and functional post-stroke outcomes.
Acute ischemic stroke represents a major cause of long-term adult disability. Accurate prognostication of post-stroke functional outcomes is invaluable in guiding patient care, targeting early rehabilitation efforts, selecting patients for clinical research, and conveying realistic expectations to families. The involvement of specific brain regions by acute ischemia can alter post-stroke recovery potential. Understanding the influences of infarct topography on neurologic outcomes holds significant promise in prognosis of functional recovery. In this review, we discuss the recent evidence of the contribution of infarct location to patient management decisions and functional outcomes after acute ischemic stroke.
Epidemiological studies suggest that a single moderate-to-severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) is associated with an increased risk of neurodegenerative disease, including Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Parkinson's disease (PD). Histopathological studies describe complex neurodegenerative pathologies in individuals exposed to single moderate-to-severe TBI or repetitive mild TBI, including chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). However, the clinicopathological links between TBI and post-traumatic neurodegenerative diseases such as AD, PD, and CTE remain poorly understood. Here, we describe the methodology of the Late Effects of TBI (LETBI) study, whose goals are to characterize chronic post-traumatic neuropathology and to identify in vivo biomarkers of post-traumatic neurodegeneration. LETBI participants undergo extensive clinical evaluation using National Institutes of Health TBI Common Data Elements, proteomic and genomic analysis, structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and prospective consent for brain donation. Selected brain specimens undergo ultra-high resolution ex vivo MRI and histopathological evaluation including whole-mount analysis. Co-registration of ex vivo and in vivo MRI data enables identification of ex vivo lesions that were present during life. In vivo signatures of postmortem pathology are then correlated with cognitive and behavioral data to characterize the clinical phenotype(s) associated with pathological brain lesions. We illustrate the study methods and demonstrate proof of concept for this approach by reporting results from the first LETBI participant, who despite the presence of multiple in vivo and ex vivo pathoanatomic lesions had normal cognition and was functionally independent until her mid-80s. The LETBI project represents a multidisciplinary effort to characterize post-traumatic neuropathology and identify in vivo signatures of postmortem pathology in a prospective study.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Oxidative stress is an early response to cerebral ischemia and is likely to play an important role in the pathogenesis of cerebral ischemic injury. We sought to evaluate whether hyperacute plasma concentrations of biomarkers of oxidative stress, inflammation, and tissue damage predict infarct growth (IG).
METHODS: We prospectively measured plasma F2-isoprostane (F2-isoP), urinary 8-oxo-7,8-dihydro-2'-deoxyguoanosine, plasma oxygen radical absorbance capacity assay, high sensitivity C reactive protein, and matrix metalloproteinase 2 and 9 in consecutive patients with acute ischemic stroke presenting within 9 hours of symptom onset. Patients with baseline diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging and follow-up diffusion-weighted imaging or computed tomographic scan were included to evaluate the final infarct volume. Baseline diffusion-weighted imaging volume and final infarct volume were analyzed using semiautomated volumetric method. IG volume was defined as the difference between final infarct volume and baseline diffusion-weighted imaging volume.
RESULTS: A total of 220 acute ischemic stroke subjects were included in the final analysis. One hundred seventy of these had IG. Baseline F2-isoP significantly correlated with IG volume (Spearman ρ=0.20; P=0.005) and final infarct volume (Spearman ρ=0.19; P=0.009). In a multivariate binary logistic regression model, baseline F2-isoP emerged as an independent predictor of the occurrence of IG (odds ratio, 2.57; 95% confidence interval, 1.37-4.83; P=0.007). In a multivariate linear regression model, baseline F2-isoP was independently associated with IG volume (B, 0.38; 95% confidence interval, 0.04-0.72; P=0.03).
CONCLUSIONS: Elevated hyperacute plasma F2-isoP concentrations independently predict the occurrence of IG and IG volume in patients with acute ischemic stroke. If validated in future studies, measuring plasma F2-isoP might be helpful in the acute setting to stratify patients with acute ischemic stroke for relative severity of ischemic injury and expected progression.
OBJECTIVE: To determine whether common variants in familial cerebral small vessel disease (SVD) genes confer risk of sporadic cerebral SVD.
METHODS: We meta-analyzed genotype data from individuals of European ancestry to determine associations of common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 6 familial cerebral SVD genes (COL4A1, COL4A2, NOTCH3, HTRA1, TREX1, and CECR1) with intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) (deep, lobar, all; 1,878 cases, 2,830 controls) and ischemic stroke (IS) (lacunar, cardioembolic, large vessel disease, all; 19,569 cases, 37,853 controls). We applied data quality filters and set statistical significance thresholds accounting for linkage disequilibrium and multiple testing.
RESULTS: A locus in COL4A2 was associated (significance threshold p < 3.5 × 10-4) with both lacunar IS (lead SNP rs9515201: odds ratio [OR] 1.17, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.11-1.24, p = 6.62 × 10-8) and deep ICH (lead SNP rs4771674: OR 1.28, 95% CI 1.13-1.44, p = 5.76 × 10-5). A SNP in HTRA1 was associated (significance threshold p < 5.5 × 10-4) with lacunar IS (rs79043147: OR 1.23, 95% CI 1.10-1.37, p = 1.90 × 10-4) and less robustly with deep ICH. There was no clear evidence for association of common variants in either COL4A2 or HTRA1 with non-SVD strokes or in any of the other genes with any stroke phenotype.
CONCLUSIONS: These results provide evidence of shared genetic determinants and suggest common pathophysiologic mechanisms of distinct ischemic and hemorrhagic cerebral SVD stroke phenotypes, offering new insights into the causal mechanisms of cerebral SVD.
OBJECTIVE: To describe the design and rationale for the genetic analysis of acute and chronic cerebrovascular neuroimaging phenotypes detected on clinical MRI in patients with acute ischemic stroke (AIS) within the scope of the MRI-GENetics Interface Exploration (MRI-GENIE) study.
METHODS: MRI-GENIE capitalizes on the existing infrastructure of the Stroke Genetics Network (SiGN). In total, 12 international SiGN sites contributed MRIs of 3,301 patients with AIS. Detailed clinical phenotyping with the web-based Causative Classification of Stroke (CCS) system and genome-wide genotyping data were available for all participants. Neuroimaging analyses include the manual and automated assessments of established MRI markers. A high-throughput MRI analysis pipeline for the automated assessment of cerebrovascular lesions on clinical scans will be developed in a subset of scans for both acute and chronic lesions, validated against gold standard, and applied to all available scans. The extracted neuroimaging phenotypes will improve characterization of acute and chronic cerebrovascular lesions in ischemic stroke, including CCS subtypes, and their effect on functional outcomes after stroke. Moreover, genetic testing will uncover variants associated with acute and chronic MRI manifestations of cerebrovascular disease.
CONCLUSIONS: The MRI-GENIE study aims to develop, validate, and distribute the MRI analysis platform for scans acquired as part of clinical care for patients with AIS, which will lead to (1) novel genetic discoveries in ischemic stroke, (2) strategies for personalized stroke risk assessment, and (3) personalized stroke outcome assessment.
See Schiff (doi:10.1093/awx209) for a scientific commentary on this article. Patients with acute severe traumatic brain injury may recover consciousness before self-expression. Without behavioural evidence of consciousness at the bedside, clinicians may render an inaccurate prognosis, increasing the likelihood of withholding life-sustaining therapies or denying rehabilitative services. Task-based functional magnetic resonance imaging and electroencephalography techniques have revealed covert consciousness in the chronic setting, but these techniques have not been tested in the intensive care unit. We prospectively enrolled 16 patients admitted to the intensive care unit for acute severe traumatic brain injury to test two hypotheses: (i) in patients who lack behavioural evidence of language expression and comprehension, functional magnetic resonance imaging and electroencephalography detect command-following during a motor imagery task (i.e. cognitive motor dissociation) and association cortex responses during language and music stimuli (i.e. higher-order cortex motor dissociation); and (ii) early responses to these paradigms are associated with better 6-month outcomes on the Glasgow Outcome Scale-Extended. Patients underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging on post-injury Day 9.2 ± 5.0 and electroencephalography on Day 9.8 ± 4.6. At the time of imaging, behavioural evaluation with the Coma Recovery Scale-Revised indicated coma (n = 2), vegetative state (n = 3), minimally conscious state without language (n = 3), minimally conscious state with language (n = 4) or post-traumatic confusional state (n = 4). Cognitive motor dissociation was identified in four patients, including three whose behavioural diagnosis suggested a vegetative state. Higher-order cortex motor dissociation was identified in two additional patients. Complete absence of responses to language, music and motor imagery was only observed in coma patients. In patients with behavioural evidence of language function, responses to language and music were more frequently observed than responses to motor imagery (62.5-80% versus 33.3-42.9%). Similarly, in 16 matched healthy subjects, responses to language and music were more frequently observed than responses to motor imagery (87.5-100% versus 68.8-75.0%). Except for one patient who died in the intensive care unit, all patients with cognitive motor dissociation and higher-order cortex motor dissociation recovered beyond a confusional state by 6 months. However, 6-month outcomes were not associated with early functional magnetic resonance imaging and electroencephalography responses for the entire cohort. These observations suggest that functional magnetic resonance imaging and electroencephalography can detect command-following and higher-order cortical function in patients with acute severe traumatic brain injury. Early detection of covert consciousness and cortical responses in the intensive care unit could alter time-sensitive decisions about withholding life-sustaining therapies.
BACKGROUND: Neuroimaging may guide acute stroke treatment by measuring the volume of brain tissue in the irreversibly injured "ischemic core." The most widely accepted core volume measurement technique is diffusion-weighted MRI (DWI). However, some claim that measuring regional cerebral blood flow (CBF) with CT perfusion imaging (CTP), and labeling tissue below some threshold as the core, provides equivalent estimates. We tested whether any threshold allows reliable substitution of CBF for DWI.
METHODS: 58 patients with suspected stroke underwent DWI and CTP within six hours of symptom onset. A neuroradiologist outlined DWI lesions. In CBF maps, core pixels were defined by thresholds ranging from 0%-100% of normal, in 1% increments. Replicating prior studies, we used receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves to select thresholds that optimized sensitivity and specificity in predicting DWI-positive pixels, first using only pixels on the side of the brain where infarction was clinically suspected ("unilateral" method), then including both sides ("bilateral"). We quantified each method and threshold's accuracy in estimating DWI volumes, using sums of squared errors (SSE). For the 23 patients with follow-up studies, we assessed whether CBF-derived volumes inaccurately exceeded follow-up infarct volumes.
RESULTS: The areas under the ROC curves were 0.89 (unilateral) and 0.90 (bilateral). Various metrics selected optimum CBF thresholds ranging from 29%-32%, with sensitivities of 0.79-0.81, and specificities of 0.83-0.85. However, for the unilateral and bilateral methods respectively, volume estimates derived from all CBF thresholds above 28% and 22% were less accurate than disregarding imaging and presuming every patient's core volume to be zero. The unilateral method with a 30% threshold, which recent clinical trials have employed, produced a mean core overestimation of 65 mL (range: -82-191), and exceeded follow-up volumes for 83% of patients, by up to 191 mL.
CONCLUSION: CTP-derived CBF maps cannot substitute for DWI in measuring the ischemic core.
OBJECTIVE: To characterize the effect of white matter microstructural integrity on cerebral tissue and long-term functional outcomes after acute ischemic stroke (AIS).
METHODS: Consecutive AIS patients with brain MRI acquired within 48 hours of symptom onset and 90-day modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score were included. Acute infarct volume on diffusion-weighted imaging (DWIv) and white matter hyperintensity volume (WMHv) on T2 fluid-attenuated inversion recovery MRI were measured. Median fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity, radial diffusivity, and axial diffusivity values were calculated within normal-appearing white matter (NAWM) in the hemisphere contralateral to the acute lesion. Regression models were used to assess the association between diffusivity metrics and acute cerebral tissue and long-term functional outcomes in AIS. Level of significance was set at p < 0.05 for all analyses.
RESULTS: Among 305 AIS patients with DWIv and mRS score, mean age was 64.4 ± 15.9 years, and 183 participants (60%) were male. Median NIH Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score was 3 (interquartile range [IQR] 1-8), and median normalized WMHv was 6.19 cm3 (IQR 3.0-12.6 cm3). Admission stroke severity (β = 0.16, p < 0.0001) and small vessel stroke subtype (β = -1.53, p < 0.0001), but not diffusivity metrics, were independently associated with DWIv. However, median FA in contralesional NAWM was independently associated with mRS score (β = -9.74, p = 0.02), along with age, female sex, NIHSS score, and DWIv.
CONCLUSIONS: FA decrease in NAWM contralateral to the acute infarct is associated with worse mRS category at 90 days after stroke. These data suggest that white matter integrity may contribute to functional recovery after stroke.