Diffusion tensor tractography of traumatic diffuse axonal injury

Jun Yi Wang, Khamid Bakhadirov, Michael D Devous, Hervé Abdi, Roddy McColl, Carol Moore, Carlos D Marquez de la Plata, Kan Ding, Anthony Whittemore, Evelyn Babcock, Tiffany Rickbeil, Julia Dobervich, David Kroll, Bao Dao, Nisha Mohindra, Christopher J Madden, Ramon Diaz-Arrastia
Archives of Neurology 2008, 65 (5): 619-26

BACKGROUND: Diffuse axonal injury is a common consequence of traumatic brain injury that frequently involves the parasagittal white matter, corpus callosum, and brainstem.

OBJECTIVE: To examine the potential of diffusion tensor tractography in detecting diffuse axonal injury at the acute stage of injury and predicting long-term functional outcome.

DESIGN: Tract-derived fiber variables were analyzed to distinguish patients from control subjects and to determine their relationship to outcome.

SETTING: Inpatient traumatic brain injury unit.

PATIENTS: From 2005 to 2006, magnetic resonance images were acquired in 12 patients approximately 7 days after injury and in 12 age- and sex-matched controls.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Six fiber variables of the corpus callosum, fornix, and peduncular projections were obtained. Glasgow Outcome Scale-Extended scores were assessed approximately 9 months after injury in 11 of the 12 patients.

RESULTS: At least 1 fiber variable of each region showed diffuse axonal injury-associated alterations. At least 1 fiber variable of the anterior body and splenium of the corpus callosum correlated significantly with the Glasgow Outcome Scale-Extended scores. The predicted outcome scores correlated significantly with actual scores in a mixed-effects model.

CONCLUSION: Diffusion tensor tractography-based quantitative analysis at the acute stage of injury has the potential to serve as a valuable biomarker of diffuse axonal injury and predict long-term outcome.

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