Dual echo vessel-encoded ASL for simultaneous BOLD and CBF reactivity assessment in patients with ischemic cerebrovascular disease

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Abstract

Purpose:

Blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD)-weighted and vessel-encoded arterial spin labeling (VE-ASL) MRI provide complementary information and can be used in sequence to gauge hemodynamic contributions to cerebrovascular reactivity. Here, cerebrovascular reactivity is assessed using dual echo VE-ASL MRI to understand how VE labeling preparations influence BOLD and ASL contrast in flow-limited and healthy perfusion territories.

Methods:

Patients (n = 12; age = 55 +/– 14 years; 6F/6M) presenting with ischemic steno-occlusive cerebrovascular disease underwent 3.0T angiographic imaging, T1-weighted structural, and planning-free dual echo hypercarbic hyperoxic (i.e., carbogen) VE-ASL MRI. Vasculopathy extent, timecourses, and cerebrovascular reactivity (signal change and Z-statistic) for different VE-ASL images were contrasted across flow territories and Bonferroni-corrected P-values reported.

Results:

BOLD cerebrovascular reactivity (i.e., long-TE VE-ASL) Z-statistics were similarly sensitive to asymmetric disease (P ≤ 0.002) regardless of labeling scenario. Cerebral blood flow reactivity correlated significantly with BOLD reactivity (Z-statistic). However, BOLD signal changes did not differ significantly between labeling scenarios (P > 0.003) or across territories (P > 0.002), indicating BOLD signal changes in response to carbogen offer low sensitivity to lateralizing disease.

Conclusion:

Dual echo VE-ASL can provide simultaneous cerebral blood flow and qualitative BOLD contrast consistent with lateralizing disease severity in patients with asymmetric steno-occlusive disease. The methodological strengths and limitations of composite BOLD and VE-ASL measurements in the clinic are discussed. Magn Reson Med 73:1579–1592, 2015. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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