The role of isotropic diffusion MRI in children under 2 years of age

Eur Radiol. 2001;11(6):1006-14. doi: 10.1007/s003300000722.


Our objective was to determine the contribution of diffusion MR imaging to standard MR imaging in the neuroradiological evaluation of children less than 2 years of age. Echo-planar diffusion MR imaging was added to standard MR exams in 75 consecutive patients under the age of 2 years. Single-shot echo-planar spin-echo T2 weighted images (EPSE-T2) were acquired. Isotropic diffusion-weighted images (DWI), attenuation coefficient maps (ACM), and apparent diffusion co-efficient (ADC) maps were calculated offline from images obtained with diffusion gradients (b = 1000 s/mm2) in three orthogonal directions. Two neuroradiologists determined if EPSE-T2, DWI, or ACM contributed new information to spin-echo proton density (SE PD) and T2 studies. In 15 of 18 abnormalities detected in 8 patients with symptoms less than 1 week in duration, DWI and/or ACM added information to SE PD and T2. Diffusion sequences detected five new lesions, showed six lesions with greater conspicuity, and identified four lesions with different diffusion character. In patients with symptoms of more than 7 days duration, diffusion studies added no information. Isotropic diffusion MR contributed to lesion detection and characterization in infants when symptoms were less than 1 week in duration. Diffusion MR is useful in patients with leukodystrophies, metabolic disorders, and patients with acute ischemic lesions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / physiology*
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / diagnosis*
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / physiopathology
  • Brain Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Brain Diseases / physiopathology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diffusion
  • Echo-Planar Imaging*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement*
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Sensitivity and Specificity