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.
Neuroimaging is commonly utilized in the evaluation of post-cardiac arrest patients, providing a unique ability to visualize and quantify structural brain injury that can complement clinical and electrophysiologic data. Despite its lack of validation, we would advocate that neuroimaging is a valuable prognostication tool, worthy of further study, and an essential part of the armamentarium when used in combination with other modalities in the assessment of the post-cardiac arrest patient. Herein, we discuss the data and its limitations for neuroimaging to date and how it is being studied prospectively. We present current guidelines recommendations for prognostication after global hypoxic-ischemic injury, focusing primarily on computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), as they are the most widely used modalities. We present promising results from advanced neuroimaging techniques, and provide practical advice for the clinician caring for these patients in the real world.
Estimation of hemorrhagic transformation (HT) risk is crucial for treatment decision-making after acute ischemic stroke. We aimed to determine the accuracy of multiparametric MRI-based predictive algorithms in calculating probability of HT after stroke. Spontaneously, hypertensive rats were subjected to embolic stroke and, after 3 h treated with tissue plasminogen activator (Group I: n = 6) or vehicle (Group II: n = 7). Brain MRI measurements of T2, T2*, diffusion, perfusion, and blood-brain barrier permeability were obtained at 2, 24, and 168 h post-stroke. Generalized linear model and random forest (RF) predictive algorithms were developed to calculate the probability of HT and infarction from acute MRI data. Validation against seven-day outcome on MRI and histology revealed that highest accuracy of hemorrhage prediction was achieved with a RF-based model that included spatial brain features (Group I: area under the receiver-operating characteristic curve (AUC) = 0.85 ± 0.14; Group II: AUC = 0.89 ± 0.09), with significant improvement over perfusion- or permeability-based thresholding methods. However, overlap between predicted and actual tissue outcome was significantly lower for hemorrhage prediction models (maximum Dice's Similarity Index (DSI) = 0.20 ± 0.06) than for infarct prediction models (maximum DSI = 0.81 ± 0.06). Multiparametric MRI-based predictive algorithms enable early identification of post-ischemic tissue at risk of HT and may contribute to improved treatment decision-making after acute ischemic stroke.
BACKGROUND: Recovery of functional independence is possible in patients with brainstem traumatic axonal injury (TAI), also referred to as "grade 3 diffuse axonal injury," but acute prognostic biomarkers are lacking. We hypothesized that the extent of dorsal brainstem TAI measured by burden of traumatic microbleeds (TMBs) correlates with 1-year functional outcome more strongly than does ventral brainstem, corpus callosal, or global brain TMB burden. Further, we hypothesized that TMBs within brainstem nuclei of the ascending arousal network (AAN) correlate with 1-year outcome.
METHODS: Using a prospective outcome database of patients treated for moderate-to-severe traumatic brain injury at an inpatient rehabilitation hospital, we retrospectively identified 39 patients who underwent acute gradient-recalled echo (GRE) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). TMBs were counted on the acute GRE scans globally and in the dorsal brainstem, ventral brainstem, and corpus callosum. TMBs were also mapped onto an atlas of AAN nuclei. The primary outcome was the disability rating scale (DRS) score at 1 year post-injury. Associations between regional TMBs, AAN TMB volume, and 1-year DRS score were assessed by calculating Spearman rank correlation coefficients.
RESULTS: Mean ± SD number of TMBs was: dorsal brainstem = 0.7 ± 1.4, ventral brainstem = 0.2 ± 0.6, corpus callosum = 1.8 ± 2.8, and global = 14.4 ± 12.5. The mean ± SD TMB volume within AAN nuclei was 6.1 ± 18.7 mm3. Increased dorsal brainstem TMBs and larger AAN TMB volume correlated with worse 1-year outcomes (R = 0.37, p = 0.02, and R = 0.36, p = 0.02, respectively). Global, callosal, and ventral brainstem TMBs did not correlate with outcomes.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that dorsal brainstem TAI, especially involving AAN nuclei, may have greater prognostic utility than the total number of lesions in the brain or brainstem.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Women have worse poststroke outcomes than men. We evaluated sex-specific clinical and neuroimaging characteristics of white matter in association with functional recovery after acute ischemic stroke.
METHODS: We performed a retrospective analysis of acute ischemic stroke patients with admission brain MRI and 3- to 6-month modified Rankin Scale score. White matter hyperintensity and acute infarct volume were quantified on fluid-attenuated inversion recovery and diffusion tensor imaging MRI, respectively. Diffusivity anisotropy metrics were calculated in normal appearing white matter contralateral to the acute ischemia.
RESULTS: Among 319 patients with acute ischemic stroke, women were older (68.0 versus 62.7 years; P=0.004), had increased incidence of atrial fibrillation (21.4% versus 12.2%; P=0.04), and lower rate of tobacco use (21.1% versus 35.9%; P=0.03). There was no sex-specific difference in white matter hyperintensity volume, acute infarct volume, National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale, prestroke modified Rankin Scale score, or normal appearing white matter diffusivity anisotropy metrics. However, women were less likely to have an excellent outcome (modified Rankin Scale score <2: 49.6% versus 67.0%; P=0.005). In logistic regression analysis, female sex and the interaction of sex with fractional anisotropy, radial diffusivity, and axial diffusivity were independent predictors of functional outcome.
CONCLUSIONS: Female sex is associated with decreased likelihood of excellent outcome after acute ischemic stroke. The correlation between markers of white matter integrity and functional outcomes in women, but not men, suggests a potential sex-specific mechanism.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The Stroke Imaging Research (STIR) group, the Imaging Working Group of StrokeNet, the American Society of Neuroradiology, and the Foundation of the American Society of Neuroradiology sponsored an imaging session and workshop during the Stroke Treatment Academy Industry Roundtable (STAIR) IX on October 5 to 6, 2015 in Washington, DC. The purpose of this roadmap was to focus on the role of imaging in future research and clinical trials.
METHODS: This forum brought together stroke neurologists, neuroradiologists, neuroimaging research scientists, members of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), industry representatives, and members of the US Food and Drug Administration to discuss STIR priorities in the light of an unprecedented series of positive acute stroke endovascular therapy clinical trials.
RESULTS: The imaging session summarized and compared the imaging components of the recent positive endovascular trials and proposed opportunities for pooled analyses. The imaging workshop developed consensus recommendations for optimal imaging methods for the acquisition and analysis of core, mismatch, and collaterals across multiple modalities, and also a standardized approach for measuring the final infarct volume in prospective clinical trials.
CONCLUSIONS: Recent positive acute stroke endovascular clinical trials have demonstrated the added value of neurovascular imaging. The optimal imaging profile for endovascular treatment includes large vessel occlusion, smaller core, good collaterals, and large penumbra. However, equivalent definitions for the imaging profile parameters across modalities are needed, and a standardization effort is warranted, potentially leveraging the pooled data resulting from the recent positive endovascular trials.
BACKGROUND: The etiology of altered consciousness in patients with high-grade aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is not thoroughly understood. We hypothesized that decreased cerebral blood flow (CBF) in brain regions critical to consciousness may contribute.
METHODS: We retrospectively evaluated arterial-spin labeled (ASL) perfusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) measurements of CBF in 12 patients with aneurysmal SAH admitted to our neurocritical care unit. CBF values were analyzed within gray matter nodes of the default mode network (DMN), whose functional integrity has been shown to be necessary for consciousness. DMN nodes studied were the bilateral medial prefrontal cortices, thalami, and posterior cingulate cortices. Correlations between nodal CBF and admission Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score, admission Hunt and Hess (HH) class, and GCS score at the time of MRI (MRI GCS) were tested.
RESULTS: Spearman's correlation coefficients were not significant when comparing admission GCS, admission HH, and MRI GCS versus nodal CBF (p > 0.05). However, inter-rater reliability for nodal CBF was high (r = 0.71, p = 0.01).
CONCLUSIONS: In this retrospective pilot study, we did not identify significant correlations between CBF and admission GCS, admission HH class, or MRI GCS for any DMN node. Potential explanations for these findings include small sample size, ASL data acquisition at variable times after SAH onset, and CBF analysis in DMN nodes that may not reflect the functional integrity of the entire network. High inter-rater reliability suggests ASL measurements of CBF within DMN nodes are reproducible. Larger prospective studies are needed to elucidate whether decreased cerebral perfusion contributes to altered consciousness in SAH.
BACKGROUND: Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) may have prognostic utility in patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI), but the optimal timing of DTI data acquisition is unknown because of dynamic changes in white matter water diffusion during the acute and subacute stages of TBI. We aimed to characterize the direction and magnitude of early longitudinal changes in white matter fractional anisotropy (FA) and to determine whether acute or subacute FA values correlate more reliably with functional outcomes after TBI.
METHODS: From a prospective TBI outcomes database, 11 patients who underwent acute (≤7 days) and subacute (8 days to rehabilitation discharge) DTI were retrospectively analyzed. Longitudinal changes in FA were measured in 11 white matter regions susceptible to traumatic axonal injury. Correlations were assessed between acute FA, subacute FA and the disability rating scale (DRS) score, which was ascertained at discharge from inpatient rehabilitation.
RESULTS: FA declined from the acute-to-subacute period in the genu of the corpus callosum (0.70 ± 0.02 vs. 0.55 ± 0.11, p < 0.05) and inferior longitudinal fasciculus (0.54+/-0.07 vs. 0.49+/-0.07, p < 0.01). Acute correlations between FA and DRS score were variable: higher FA in the body (R = -0.78, p = 0.02) and splenium (R = -0.83, p = 0.003) of the corpus callosum was associated with better outcomes (i.e. lower DRS scores), whereas higher FA in the genu of the corpus callosum (R = 0.83, p = 0.02) corresponded with worse outcomes (i.e. higher DRS scores). In contrast, in the subacute period higher FA in the splenium correlated with better outcomes (R = -0.63, p < 0.05) and no inverse correlations were observed.
CONCLUSIONS: White matter FA declined during the acute-to-subacute stages of TBI. Variability in acute FA correlations with outcome suggests that the optimal timing of DTI for TBI prognostication may be in the subacute period.
BACKGROUND: The discovery of disease-associated loci through genome-wide association studies (GWAS) is the leading genetic approach to the identification of novel biological pathways underlying diseases in humans. Until recently, GWAS in ischaemic stroke have been limited by small sample sizes and have yielded few loci associated with ischaemic stroke. We did a large-scale GWAS to identify additional susceptibility genes for stroke and its subtypes.
METHODS: To identify genetic loci associated with ischaemic stroke, we did a two-stage GWAS. In the first stage, we included 16 851 cases with state-of-the-art phenotyping data and 32 473 stroke-free controls. Cases were aged 16 to 104 years, recruited between 1989 and 2012, and subtypes of ischaemic stroke were recorded by centrally trained and certified investigators who used the web-based protocol, Causative Classification of Stroke (CCS). We constructed case-control strata by identifying samples that were genotyped on nearly identical arrays and were of similar genetic ancestral background. We cleaned and imputed data by use of dense imputation reference panels generated from whole-genome sequence data. We did genome-wide testing to identify stroke-associated loci within each stratum for each available phenotype, and we combined summary-level results using inverse variance-weighted fixed-effects meta-analysis. In the second stage, we did in-silico lookups of 1372 single nucleotide polymorphisms identified from the first stage GWAS in 20 941 cases and 364 736 unique stroke-free controls. The ischaemic stroke subtypes of these cases had previously been established with the Trial of Org 10 172 in Acute Stroke Treatment (TOAST) classification system, in accordance with local standards. Results from the two stages were then jointly analysed in a final meta-analysis.
FINDINGS: We identified a novel locus (G allele at rs12122341) at 1p13.2 near TSPAN2 that was associated with large artery atherosclerosis-related stroke (first stage odds ratio [OR] 1·21, 95% CI 1·13-1·30, p=4·50 × 10-8; joint OR 1·19, 1·12-1·26, p=1·30 × 10-9). Our results also supported robust associations with ischaemic stroke for four other loci that have been reported in previous studies, including PITX2 (first stage OR 1·39, 1·29-1·49, p=3·26 × 10-19; joint OR 1·37, 1·30-1·45, p=2·79 × 10-32) and ZFHX3 (first stage OR 1·19, 1·11-1·27, p=2·93 × 10-7; joint OR 1·17, 1·11-1·23, p=2·29 × 10-10) for cardioembolic stroke, and HDAC9 (first stage OR 1·29, 1·18-1·42, p=3·50 × 10-8; joint OR 1·24, 1·15-1·33, p=4·52 × 10-9) for large artery atherosclerosis stroke. The 12q24 locus near ALDH2, which has previously been associated with all ischaemic stroke but not with any specific subtype, exceeded genome-wide significance in the meta-analysis of small artery stroke (first stage OR 1·20, 1·12-1·28, p=6·82 × 10-8; joint OR 1·17, 1·11-1·23, p=2·92 × 10-9). Other loci associated with stroke in previous studies, including NINJ2, were not confirmed.
INTERPRETATION: Our results suggest that all ischaemic stroke-related loci previously implicated by GWAS are subtype specific. We identified a novel gene associated with large artery atherosclerosis stroke susceptibility. Follow-up studies will be necessary to establish whether the locus near TSPAN2 can be a target for a novel therapeutic approach to stroke prevention. In view of the subtype-specificity of the associations detected, the rich phenotyping data available in the Stroke Genetics Network (SiGN) are likely to be crucial for further genetic discoveries related to ischaemic stroke.
FUNDING: US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health.
BACKGROUND: Traumatic axonal injury (TAI) may be reversible, yet there are currently no clinical imaging tools to detect axonal recovery in patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI). We used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to characterize serial changes in fractional anisotropy (FA) within TAI lesions of the corpus callosum (CC). We hypothesized that recovery of FA within a TAI lesion correlates with better functional outcome.
METHODS: Patients who underwent both an acute DTI scan (≤day 7) and a subacute DTI scan (day 14 to inpatient rehabilitation discharge) at a single institution were retrospectively analyzed. TAI lesions were manually traced on the acute diffusion-weighted images. Fractional anisotropy (FA), apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC), axial diffusivity (AD), and radial diffusivity (RD) were measured within the TAI lesions at each time point. FA recovery was defined by a longitudinal increase in CC FA that exceeded the coefficient of variation for FA based on values from healthy controls. Acute FA, ADC, AD, and RD were compared in lesions with and without FA recovery, and correlations were tested between lesional FA recovery and functional recovery, as determined by disability rating scale score at discharge from inpatient rehabilitation.
RESULTS: Eleven TAI lesions were identified in 7 patients. DTI detected FA recovery within 2 of 11 TAI lesions. Acute FA, ADC, AD, and RD did not differ between lesions with and without FA recovery. Lesional FA recovery did not correlate with disability rating scale scores.
CONCLUSIONS: In this retrospective longitudinal study, we provide initial evidence that FA can recover within TAI lesions. However, FA recovery did not correlate with improved functional outcomes. Prospective histopathological and clinical studies are needed to further elucidate whether lesional FA recovery indicates axonal healing and has prognostic significance.
BACKGROUND: The ability to predict outcomes in acutely comatose cardiac arrest survivors is limited. Brain diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DWI MRI) has been shown in initial studies to be a simple and effective prognostic tool. This study aimed to determine the predictive value of previously defined DWI MRI thresholds in a multi-center cohort.
METHODS: DWI MRIs of comatose post-cardiac arrest patients were analyzed in this multi-center retrospective observational study. Poor outcome was defined as failure to regain consciousness within 14 days and/or death during the hospitalization. The apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) value of each brain voxel was determined. ADC thresholds and brain volumes below each threshold were analyzed for their correlation with outcome.
RESULTS: 125 patients were included in the analysis. 33 patients (26%) had a good outcome. An ADC value of less than 650 × 10(-6) mm(2)/s in ≥10% of brain volume was highly specific [91% (95% CI 75-98)] and had a good sensitivity [72% (95% CI 61-80)] for predicting poor outcome. This threshold remained an independent predictor of poor outcome in multivariable analysis (p = 0.002). An ADC value of less than 650 × 10(-6) mm(2)/s in >22% of brain volume was needed to achieve 100% specificity for poor outcome.
CONCLUSIONS: In patients who remain comatose after cardiac arrest, quantitative DWI MRI findings correlate with early recovery of consciousness. A DWI MRI threshold of 650 × 10(-6) mm(2)/s in ≥10% of brain volume can differentiate patients with good versus poor outcome, though in this patient population the threshold was not 100% specific for poor outcome.
Ischemic cerebral edema (ICE) is a recognized cause of secondary neurological deterioration after large hemispheric stroke, but little is known about the scope of its impact. To study edema in less severe stroke, our group has developed several markers of cerebral edema using brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). These tools, which are based on categorical and volumetric measurements in serial diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI), are applicable to a wide variety of stroke volumes. Further, these metrics provide distinct volumetric measurements attributable to ICE, infarct growth, and hemorrhagic transformation. We previously reported that ICE independently predicted neurological outcome after adjustment for known risk factors. We found that an ICE volume of 11 mL or greater was associated with worse neurological outcome.
Leukoaraiosis, a radiographic marker of cerebral small vessel disease detected on T2-weighted brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as white matter hyperintensity (WMH), is a key contributor to the risk and severity of acute cerebral ischemia. Prior investigations have emphasized the pathophysiology of WMH development and progression; however, more recently, an association between WMH burden and functional outcomes after stroke has emerged. There is growing evidence that WMH represents macroscopic injury to the white matter and that the extent of WMH burden on MRI influences functional recovery in multiple domains following acute ischemic stroke (AIS). In this review, we discuss the current understanding of WMH pathogenesis and its impact on AIS and functional recovery.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Selecting acute ischemic stroke patients for reperfusion therapy on the basis of a diffusion-perfusion mismatch has not been uniformly proved to predict a beneficial treatment response. In a prior study, we have shown that combining clinical with MR imaging thresholds can predict clinical outcome with high positive predictive value. In this study, we sought to validate this predictive model in a larger patient cohort and evaluate the effects of reperfusion therapy and stroke side.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: One hundred twenty-three consecutive patients with anterior circulation acute ischemic stroke underwent MR imaging within 6 hours of stroke onset. DWI and PWI volumes were measured. Lesion volume and NIHSS score thresholds were used in models predicting good 3-month clinical outcome (mRS 0-2). Patients were stratified by treatment and stroke side.
RESULTS: Receiver operating characteristic analysis demonstrated 95.6% and 100% specificity for DWI > 70 mL and NIHSS score > 20 to predict poor outcome, and 92.7% and 91.3% specificity for PWI (mean transit time) < 50 mL and NIHSS score < 8 to predict good outcome. Combining clinical and imaging thresholds led to an 88.8% (71/80) positive predictive value with a 65.0% (80/123) prognostic yield. One hundred percent specific thresholds for DWI (103 versus 31 mL) and NIHSS score (20 versus 17) to predict poor outcome were significantly higher in treated (intravenous and/or intra-arterial) versus untreated patients. Prognostic yield was lower in right- versus left-sided strokes for all thresholds (10.4%-20.7% versus 16.9%-40.0%). Patients with right-sided strokes had higher 100% specific DWI (103.1 versus 74.8 mL) thresholds for poor outcome, and the positive predictive value was lower.
CONCLUSIONS: Our predictive model is validated in a much larger patient cohort. Outcome may be predicted in up to two-thirds of patients, and thresholds are affected by stroke side and reperfusion therapy.
Over the past decade, networks have become a leading model to illustrate both the anatomical relationships (structural networks) and the coupling of dynamic physiology (functional networks) linking separate brain regions. The relationship between these two levels of description remains incompletely understood and an area of intense research interest. In particular, it is unclear how cortical currents relate to underlying brain structural architecture. In addition, although theory suggests that brain communication is highly frequency dependent, how structural connections influence overlying functional connectivity in different frequency bands has not been previously explored. Here we relate functional networks inferred from statistical associations between source imaging of EEG activity and underlying cortico-cortical structural brain connectivity determined by probabilistic white matter tractography. We evaluate spontaneous fluctuating cortical brain activity over a long time scale (minutes) and relate inferred functional networks to underlying structural connectivity for broadband signals, as well as in seven distinct frequency bands. We find that cortical networks derived from source EEG estimates partially reflect both direct and indirect underlying white matter connectivity in all frequency bands evaluated. In addition, we find that when structural support is absent, functional connectivity is significantly reduced for high frequency bands compared to low frequency bands. The association between cortical currents and underlying white matter connectivity highlights the obligatory interdependence of functional and structural networks in the human brain. The increased dependence on structural support for the coupling of higher frequency brain rhythms provides new evidence for how underlying anatomy directly shapes emergent brain dynamics at fast time scales.