Object: Diffusion-weighted (DW) magnetic resonance imaging was used to visualize corticospinal tract injury in patients with deep intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH), and the results were used to predict motor impairment of the extremities.
Methods: Twenty-eight patients with deep ICH (17 men and 11 women, mean age 58+/-14 years) were examined. The volume of the ICH was assessed on initial computerized tomography scans. Twelve patients had ICH volumes of 40 ml or more and were treated surgically, and 16 patients who had an ICH volume of less than 40 ml were treated medically. Initial corticospinal tract injury was classified into four grades according to the anatomical relationship between the corticospinal tract and the ICH on DW images. Motor impairment of both the upper and lower extremities was assessed at admission and 1 month poststroke by using the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale. The extent of correlation was determined between motor impairment and corticospinal tract injury. Initial corticospinal tract injury was not correlated with the impairment of extremities at admission but was closely correlated with motor impairment of the upper (r = 0.843, p < 0.001) and lower (r = 0.868, p < 0.001) extremities at 1 month poststroke. Impairment of the upper extremities correlated better with anterior than with posterior corticospinal tract injury (r = 0.911 compared with r = 0.600), and impairment of the lower extremities correlated better with posterior than with anterior injury (r = 0.890 compared with r = 0.787).
Conclusions: Early evaluation of corticospinal tract injury based on DW imaging can provide predictive value for motor functional outcome in patients with deep ICH.