Rationale and objectives: To compare cerebral perfusion data obtained by using a low-dose, T1-weighted MRI technique with radionuclide (single positron emission computed tomography [SPECT]) brain imaging and to assess the reproducibility of parametric MRI data (cerebral blood flow [CBF], cerebral blood volume [CBV], and time to peak [TTP]) by applying a previously described nuclear medicine technique to derive quantitative perfusion data.
Methods: Single-slice brain and neck images were rapidly acquired during the passage of a small (1/10th of normal dose) bolus of contrast. Parametric images were constructed from the MR data by extracting the bolus transit curve for the brain and the peak arterial input curve from the carotid vessels in the neck. These were compared with SPECT perfusion imaging. Twenty-four patients with acute stroke were studied with both techniques; 13 underwent repeated scanning to assess data reproducibility.
Results: Relative CBF data were comparable to SPECT data (r = 0.584, P = 0.01). Results were reproducible for relative CBF, CBV, and TTP. The arterial input function was significantly different on the second injection with an average difference of 73.5, suggesting that the signal-concentration relationship had lost linearity with increased contrast load. Absolute quantitative MRI data produced values in the expected range (CBF = 42.6 mL x 100 g(-1) x min(-1)).
Conclusions: This technique allows estimation of CBF in the setting of acute stroke with quantitative values in the expected range. Repeated measurements in the same patients showed that this technique provides a reproducible measure of relative CBF, CBV, and TTP.