Thaler C, Schneider T, Sedlacik J, Kutzner D, Stellmann JP, Heesen C, Fiehler J, Siemonsen S.

PURPOSE: In multiple sclerosis (MS) the sensitivity for detection of contrast enhancing lesions (CEL) in T1-weighted scans is essential for diagnostics and therapy decisions. The purpose of our study was to evaluate the sensitivity of T1w MPRAGE scans in comparison to T1w dark blood technique (T1-DB) for CEL in MS. MATERIALS AND METHODS: 3T MR imaging was performed in 37 MS patients, including T2-weighted imaging, T1w MPRAGE before and after gadolinium injection (unenhanced-T1 and T1-CE) and T1-DB imaging. After gadolinium application, the T1-DB scan was performed prior to T1-CE. From unenhanced-T1 and T1-CE scans, subtraction images (T1-SUB) were calculated. The number of CEL was determined separately on T1-CE and T1-DB by two raters independently. Lesions only detected on T1-DB scans then were verified on T1-SUB. Only lesions detected by both raters were included in further analysis. RESULTS: In 16 patients, at least one CEL was detected by both rater, either on T1-CE or T1-DB. All lesions that were detected on T1-CE were also detected on T1-DB images. The total number of contrast enhancing lesions detected on T1-DB images (n = 54) by both raters was significantly higher than the corresponding number of lesions identified on T1-CE (n = 27) (p = 0.01); all of these lesions could be verified on SUB images. In 21 patients, no CEL was detected in any of the sequences. CONCLUSIONS: The application of T1-DB technique increases the sensitivity for CEL in MS, especially for those lesions that show only subtle increase in intensity after Gadolinium application but remain hypo- or iso-intense to surrounding tissue.

PLoS One. 2017 Aug 10;12(8):e0183099.

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