Siemonsen S, Mouridsen K, Holst B, Ries T, Finsterbusch J, Thomalla G, Ostergaard L, Fiehler J.BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: We hypothesize that in comparison to diffusion-weighted imaging, quantitative T2 values (qT2) are more directly related to water uptake in ischemic tissue, depending on time from symptom onset. We measured the increase of qT2 in the infarct core to quantify the correlation between time from symptom onset and change in qT2. METHODS: Thirty-six patients with acute ischemic stroke in the territory of the proximal middle cerebral artery underwent MRI including diffusion-weighted imaging, fluid-attenuated inversion recovery, and a triple-echo T2 sequence (calculation of T2 maps) within 6 hours after symptom onset. Regions of decreased apparent diffusion coefficient <550 x 10(-9) mm(2)/sec were defined and superimposed onto the corresponding T2 map and the unaffected side in the horizontally flipped maps. Differences of T2/apparent diffusion coefficient values between affected and unaffected side were calculated (differences of T2/differences of apparent diffusion coefficient). Fluid-attenuated inversion recovery images were rated for lesion visibility. RESULTS: Differences of T2 showed a significant correlation with time from symptom onset (R=0.580; P<0.001). T2 values measured in patients with visible fluid-attenuated inversion recovery lesions were significantly higher than in those without visible hyperintensity (P<0.001). The accuracy of qT2 to predict a time from symptom onset <3 hours was 0.794, whereas the corresponding accuracy for visual assessment of fluid-attenuated inversion recovery images was 0.676. CONCLUSIONS: T2 values demonstrated a strong correlation with time from onset, suggesting different pathophysiologic mechanisms than diffusion restriction. Whereas fluid-attenuated inversion recovery only provides binary information on lesion visibility, T2 values correlate well with time from symptom onset, and are free from operator bias, increasing reproducibility to determine time from symptom onset.
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