Magnetic resonance images of the globus pallidus in patients with idiopathic portal hypertension: A quantitative analysis of the relationship between signal intensity and the grade of portosystemic shunt

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Background and Aim

To elucidate a quantitative relationship between hyperintensity of the globus pallidus on T1-weighted magnetic resonance images (MRI) and portosystemic shunt (PSS) in portal hypertension.


Fifteen patients with idiopathic portal hypertension (IPH) and 44 patients with liver cirrhosis (LC) underwent brain MRI to asses signal intensity at the globus pallidus and Doppler sonography to examine the blood flow volume of PSS. Blood manganese (Mn) levels were examined in 36 patients and neuropsychological tests were performed in 15 patients without overt hepatic encephalopathy.


Pallidal hyperintensity on MRI was more prominent in patients with IPH than in patients with LC. There was no correlation between MRI pallidal hyperintensity and the severity of liver dysfunction or hepatic encephalopathy. The grade of hyperintensity correlated well with the grade of PSS. The correlation was stronger in patients with IPH than in patients with LC. The plasma ammonia level and whole blood Mn level significantly correlated with MRI pallidal hyperintensity, but blood Mn level showed a stronger correlation than plasma ammonia.


Hyperintensity of the globus pallidus on T1-weighted MRI correlated with the development of PSS independent of liver cell function. This brain image should be an index of the grade of PSS rather than a landmark of chronic liver failure.

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