Background: Diagnosis of cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT) is usually achieved by digital subtraction angiography or magnetic resonance angiography, while structural brain tissue damage can be assessed by computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Using perfusion and diffusion weighted imaging (PWI, DWI) we aimed in this study to identify pathophysiological patterns corresponding to only functional and hence reversible tissue involvement.
Methods: PWI, DWI, and conventional MRI were performed in six CVT patients acutely and after 16-26 days when their clinical condition had improved. All patients were treated with partial thromboplastin time-effective intravenous heparin. After intravenous administration of a paramagnetic contrast agent, bolus track PWI allows pixel based determination of mean transit time (MTT) and cerebral blood volume (CBV). DWI was performed with two different b values (0, 1000 s/mm2) for calculation of apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) maps.
Results: In five of six cases increased MTT values were observed initially, whereas the CBV was normal, indicating a reduction of cerebral blood flow. ADC values were normal. On follow up after clinical recovery MTT prolongations had resolved. Areas with prolonged MTT did not evolve into structural lesions.
Conclusion: In patients with CVT, prolongations of MTT in the absence of changes in CBV and ADC seem to indicate reversible involvement of brain tissue, a situation corresponding to the ischaemic penumbra.