To investigate physiological alterations in Sturge-Weber syndrome (SWS) using MR perfusion imaging (PWI) and proton spectroscopic imaging (MRSI), and their association with neurological status.Materials and Methods:
Six consecutive patients with a clinically established diagnosis of SWS underwent MRI using a 1.5 Tesla scanner. The protocol consisted of conventional anatomic scans, dynamic PWI, and multislice MRSI. A pediatric neurologist evaluated the neurological scores, and the imaging results were correlated with neurological scores using nonparametric correlation analysis.Results:
Two patients had classic neuroimaging findings of unilateral cerebral atrophy with corresponding leptomeningeal enhancement and hypoperfusion (prolonged mean transit time). Two patients had bilateral disease, and two had normal symmetric perfusion. Among clinical measures, the highest correlation was between hemiparesis index and hypoperfused tissue volume (Spearman's correlation coefficient, ρ = 0.943, P < 0.05). There was also a trend of correlation, although not statistically significant (P = 0.06), between the hemiparesis score and the NAA/Cr ratio in the mid to posterior centrum semiovale, lateral gray matter (GM), and splenium.Conclusion:
In SWS, PWI indicates cerebral hypoperfusion predominantly due to impaired venous drainage, with only the most severely affected regions in some patients also showing arterial perfusion deficiency. The extent and severity of the perfusion abnormality and neuronal loss/dysfunction reflect the severity of neurological symptoms and disability, and the highest correlation is found with the degree of hemiparesis. These parameters may be useful as quantitative measures of disease burden; however, further studies in larger number of patients (and with a more homogeneous age range) are required to confirm the preliminary findings reported here.