Diminished Signal Intensities Distal to Intracranial Arterial Stenosis on Time-of-Flight MR Angiography Might Indicate Delayed Cerebral Perfusion

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Abstract

Background:

Intracranial arterial stenosis (ICAS) is a predominant cause of ischemic stroke in Asia. Changes in the signal intensities (SIs) across ICAS lesions on time-of-flight magnetic resonance angiography (TOF-MRA) have been indicated to partially reflect the hemodynamic significance of the lesions, which we aimed to verify by correlating it with cerebral perfusion features provided by CT perfusion (CTP) imaging.

Methods:

Ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack patients with unilateral symptomatic stenosis (≥50%) of intracranial internal carotid artery or middle cerebral artery (MCA) were included in this study. Change of SIs across an ICAS lesion on TOF-MRA was calculated by the distal and proximal SI ratio (SIR). Cerebral blood volume (CBV), cerebral blood flow (CBF), and mean transit time (MTT) within the MCA territory of ipsilateral and contralateral hemispheres were evaluated on the CTP images at the basal ganglia level. Relative CBV, CBF and MTT were defined as ratios of the values obtained from ipsilateral and contralateral hemispheres. The relationships between SIR and CTP parameters were analyzed.

Results:

Fifty subjects (74% male, mean age 62) were recruited. Overall, the mean SIR was 0.77 ± 0.17. SIR of ICAS was significantly, linearly and negatively correlated with ipsilateral CBV (r = -0.335, p = 0.017), ipsilateral MTT (r = -0.301, p = 0.034), and ipsilateral/contralateral MTT ratio (r = -0.443, p = 0.001).

Conclusions:

Diminished SIs distal to ICAS on TOF-MRA might be associated with delayed ipsilateral cerebral perfusion. Changes of the SIs across ICAS lesions on TOF-MRA may be a simple marker to reflect cerebral perfusion changes in patients with symptomatic ICAS.

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