MRI of acute post-ischemic cerebral hemorrhage in stroke patients: diagnosis with T2*-weighted gradient-echo sequences

M Hermier, N Nighoghossian, L Derex, Y Berthezène, K Blanc-Lasserre, P Trouillas, J C Froment
Neuroradiology 2001, 43 (10): 809-15
The use of T2*-weighted sequences has been advocated for early differentiation between hematoma and ischemia in patients with acute stroke. Early hemorrhagic transformation of ischemic stroke is an adverse event which may occur under treatment and may impair the prognosis: our aim is to evaluate the ability of T2*-weighted gradient-echo sequence (T2* GRE) to detect post-ischemic cerebral hemorrhage. The imaging procedure included: (1) baseline CT scan at admission. (2) MRI performed within 24 h of therapy onset including: (a) dual fast spin echo T2 sequence, (b) axial isotropic echoplanar diffusion-weighted imaging sequence, (c) conventional T2* GRE, and (d) 3D TOF turbo MRA. Post-ischemic cerebral hemorrhage was diagnosed if T2* GRE detected a focal intraparenchymal area of signal loss. The diameter of this lesion had to be more than 5 mm in order to eliminate past microbleeds. (3) Patients who showed an early suspicion of bleeding on MRI promptly had a second CT scan, and, if this one was negative for bleeding, another CT scan was performed 1 day later. All the other patients had a control CT scan during the first week. Forty-five consecutive patients have been included. T2* GRE showed intracranial bleeding in seven. The diagnosis of post-ischemic cerebral bleeding was confirmed by CT in all patients. Control CT scans did not reveal any post-ischemic cerebral hemorrhage in patients with negative MRI. In one case, hemorrhage was seen earlier on MRI than on CT scan. In conclusion, T2* GRE appeared to be at least as efficient as CT scan in the detection of early post-ischemic cerebral hemorrhage.

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