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Coronal Diffusion-Weighted Imaging Does Not Improve Detection of Posterior Fossa Infarcts Compared With Conventional Axial Diffusion-Weighted Imaging.

PURPOSE: Recent publications have suggested incorporating coronal diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) sequences and axial DWI sequences to enhance the detection of posterior fossa infarcts (PFIs). This study evaluated the utility of coronal DWIs compared with axial DWIs for assessing PFIs in the emergency department (ED).

METHODS: A retrospective, institutional review board-approved study was conducted at a level I stroke center, including 118 patients who presented to the ED between 2016 and 2023 with suspected PFI. Inclusion criteria involved patients who underwent emergent 1.5 T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and had axial and coronal DWI sequences. Two neuroradiologists independently evaluated the DWI sequences for PFI detection in 2 rounds, with a 4-week interval between rounds. The neuroradiologists assessed the quality of axial and coronal DWIs using a 5-point Likert scale. Descriptive statistics, interrater reliability, and marginal homogeneity tests were performed.

RESULTS: Among the 118 MRI scans, 23 (19%) showed PFI on axial and coronal DWI sequences. All 23 cases were identified on axial DWI, whereas 8 cases of PFI (35%) were not detected on coronal DWI (P value = 0.013). No PFIs were observed on coronal DWI that was not identified on axial DWI. The quality scores for both raters were significantly higher for axial DWIs than coronal DWIs (P value <0.00001).

CONCLUSION: Despite recent recommendations advocating for the inclusion of coronal DWI in PFI detection, this study's findings indicate no improvement in PFI detection or image quality using coronal DWI. Further research is necessary to validate these results and explore the potential benefits of incorporating coronal DWI in assessing posterior fossa strokes.

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