Predictive value of magnetic resonance for identifying neurovascular compressions in trigeminal neuralgia

F Ruiz-Juretschke, J G Guzmán-de-Villoria, R García-Leal, J R Sañudo
Neurología: Publicación Oficial de la Sociedad Española de Neurología 2019, 34 (8): 510-519

INTRODUCTION: Microvascular decompression (MVD) is accepted as the only aetiological surgical treatment for refractory classic trigeminal neuralgia (TN). There is therefore increasing interest in establishing the diagnostic and prognostic value of identifying neurovascular compressions (NVC) using preoperative high-resolution three-dimensional magnetic resonance (MRI) in patients with classic TN who are candidates for surgery.

METHODS: This observational study includes a series of 74 consecutive patients with classic TN treated with MVD. All patients underwent a preoperative three-dimensional high-resolution MRI with DRIVE sequences to diagnose presence of NVC, as well as the degree, cause, and location of compressions. MRI results were analysed by doctors blinded to surgical findings and subsequently compared to those findings. After a minimum follow-up time of six months, we assessed the surgical outcome and graded it on the Barrow Neurological Institute pain intensity score (BNI score). The prognostic value of the preoperative MRI was estimated using binary logistic regression.

RESULTS: Preoperative DRIVE MRI sequences showed a sensitivity of 95% and a specificity of 87%, with a 98% positive predictive value and a 70% negative predictive value. Moreover, Cohen's kappa (CK) indicated a good level of agreement between radiological and surgical findings regarding presence of NVC (CK 0.75), type of compression (CK 0.74) and the site of compression (CK 0.72), with only moderate agreement as to the degree of compression (CK 0.48). After a mean follow-up of 29 months (range 6-100 months), 81% of the patients reported pain control with or without medication (BNI score i-iiiI). Patients with an excellent surgical outcome, i.e. without pain and off medication (BNI score i), made up 66% of the total at the end of follow-up. Univariate analysis using binary logistic regression showed that a diagnosis of NVC on the preoperative MRI was a favorable prognostic factor that significantly increased the odds of obtaining an excellent outcome (OR 0.17, 95% CI 0.04-0.72; P=.02) or an acceptable outcome (OR 0.16, 95% CI 0.04-0.68; P=.01) after MVD.

CONCLUSIONS: DRIVE MRI shows high sensitivity and specificity for diagnosing NVC in patients with refractory classic TN and who are candidates for MVD. The finding of NVC on preoperative MRI is a good prognostic factor for long-term pain relief with MVD.

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