Diffusion weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DWI) is widely appreciated as an indispensable tool in the examination of the central nervous system. It is considered useful not only for the detection of acute ischemic stroke but also for the characterization and differentiation of brain tumors and abscess.
Determining the occlusion site and collateral blood flow is important in acute ischemic stroke. The purpose of the current study was to test whether arterial spin labeling (ASL) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) could be used to identify the occlusion site and collateral perfusion, using digital subtraction angiography (DSA) as a gold standard.
Data from 521 consecutive patients who presented with acute ischemic stroke at our institution from January 2012 to September 2014 were retrospectively reviewed. Image data were included in this study if: (1) the patient presented symptoms of acute ischemic stroke; (2) MRI was performed within 24 h of symptom onset; and (3) DSA following MRI was performed (n = 32 patients). We defined proximal intra-arterial sign (IAS) on ASL as enlarged circular or linear bright hyperintense signal within the occluded artery and distal IAS as enlarged circular or linear bright hyperintense signals within arteries inside or surrounding the affected region. The presence or absence of the proximal IAS and distal IAS were assessed, along with their inter-rater agreement and consistency with the presence of occlusion site and collateral flow on DSA images.
The sensitivity and specificity for identifying occlusion site with ASL were 82.8 and 100%, respectively. Those for identifying collateral flow with ASL were 96.7 and 50%, respectively. The inter-rater reliability was excellent for proximal IAS (κ = 0.92; 95% CI 0.76-1.00) and substantial for distal IAS detection (κ = 0.78; 95% CI 0.38-1.00).
Proximal IAS and distal IAS on ASL imaging can provide important diagnostic clues for the detection of arterial occlusion sites and collateral perfusion in patients with acute ischemic stroke 1).