Introduction: Patients with unknown time from stroke onset, e.g. in wake-up stroke, are not eligible for thrombolyic treatment. Relative signal intensities (rSI) of DWI and FLAIR MRI are biomarkers for eligibility for thrombolysis, but have shown heterogeneous results to date. We investigated if the addition of available clinical parameters improves the prediction of the thrombolysis time window in patients with acute stroke.
Hypothesis: Inclusion of clinical parameters improves the prediction of the thrombolysis time window by quantitative MRI biomarkers
Methods: Patients from two centers with proven stroke and stroke-onset <12 hours were included in a retrospective design. The DWI lesion was segmented and overlaid on ADC and FLAIR maps. rSI mean and standard deviation (std) were calculated: mean VOI value/mean value of the unaffected hemisphere. Prediction of the thrombolysis time window was evaluated by the area-under-the-curve (AUC) of receiver-operating-characteristic (ROC) curve analysis. Age, NIHSS, MRI field strength, lesion size, vessel occlusion and Wahlund-Score were included in adjusted and stratified regression models.
Results: 82 patients were included. In the unadjusted analysis, DWI-mean and -std (AUC: 0.86, 0.87) performed best. Adjustment for clinical parameters significantly improved the performance of FLAIR-mean (0.87) and DWI-std (0.91). The best performance was found for the final stratified and adjusted models of DWI-std (0.94) and FLAIR-mean (0.96). ADC-rSIs showed no clinically acceptable performance in all models.
Conclusion: rSIs of DWI and FLAIR MRI predict eligibility for thrombolysis in acute stroke with high precision, when easily available clinical parameters are included in the prediction.