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The role of MR imaging in assessment of brain damage from carbon monoxide poisoning: a review of the literature.

The aim of this article is to review how MR imaging and associated imaging modalities provide clinicopathologic information on brain damage after carbon monoxide poisoning. Initially, many authors documented typical findings of conventional MR imaging in the gray matter structures such as the globus pallidus and in various regions of cerebral white matter. The focus of investigation has since shifted to observation of cerebral white matter areas that are more frequently detected on MR imaging and are more responsible for chronic symptoms than the gray matter. DWI has dramatically contributed to the ability to quantitatively assess cerebral white matter damage. Subsequently, DTI has enabled more sensitive evaluation than DWI and can demonstrate progressive pathologic changes in the early stage, allowing prediction of chronic conditions. In addition, MR spectroscopy reveals changes in metabolite levels, offering quantitative clinicopathologic information on brain damage after carbon monoxide poisoning.

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