Diffusion MR Imaging During Acute Subarachnoid Hemorrhage in Rats

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Background and Purpose

We analyzed the temporal and spatial pattern of water diffusion changes during acute subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) in rat brain to identify factors contributing to the acute pathophysiology of SAH.


Subarachnoid hemorrhage was remotely induced via perforation of the circle of Willis with an endovascular suture during MR imaging. A fast echo-planar imaging technique was used to acquire 60 maps of the apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) beginning 1 min before and continuing for 11 min after induction of SAH. A high-resolution spin-echo diffusion sequence was used to follow diffusion changes over 6 h after SAH. Sham-operated control (n=3), nonheparinized (n=6), and heparinized (n=5) groups were studied.


Sham-operated control animals did not show ADC changes over time. In both SAH groups, however, a sharp decline of ADC within 2 min of SAH was consistently observed in the ipsilateral somatosensory cortex. These decreases in diffusion then spread within minutes over the ipsilateral hemisphere. Similar ADC decreases on the contralateral side started with a further time delay of 1 to 3 min. From 30 min onward, the extent of the diffusion abnormality decreased progressively in the nonheparinized animals. No recovery was observed in heparinized rats.


MR diffusion imaging allows new insight into the pathophysiology of acute SAH: The spatial and temporal pattern of diffusion changes suggests the initial occurrence of acute vasospasm and subsequently "spreading depolarization" of brain tissue. Persistent hemorrhage in heparinized animals was reflected by early decline of ADC values throughout the entire brain. (Stroke. 1998;29:2155-2161.)

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