MR imaging in acute stroke: diffusion-weighted and perfusion imaging parameters for predicting infarct size

Radiology. 2002 Feb;222(2):397-403. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2222001731.


Purpose: To investigate the predictive value of the ischemic lesion size, as depicted in the acute stroke phase on diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance (MR) images and time-to-peak (TTP) maps of tissue perfusion imaging, for infarct size, as derived from T2-weighted imaging in the postacute phase.

Materials and methods: Fifty patients who underwent diffusion-weighted and perfusion imaging within 1-24 hours after stroke onset and a follow-up T2-weighted investigation after about 8 days were included. Lesion volumes were evaluated by using a semiautomatic thresholding technique. Volumetric results of acute diffusion-weighted and perfusion imaging were analyzed in comparison with follow-up T2-weighted images and in terms of the time difference between symptom onset and initial MR imaging.

Results: At diffusion-weighted imaging, the acute lesion defined by a signal intensity increase of more than 20%, compared with the contralateral side, showed the best correlation with the infarct size after 1 week. At perfusion imaging, the best predictor relative to the contralateral side was a delay of more than 6 seconds on TTP maps. Temporal analysis of volumetric results, which depended on the time difference between symptom onset and examination, revealed two patient subgroups.

Conclusion: Diffusion-weighted imaging helped to predict the size of the lesion on T2-weighted images obtained after about 8 days in patients with a symptom onset of more than 4 hours (r = 0.96), while in patients with a symptom onset of less than 4 hours, perfusion imaging provided important additional information about brain tissue with impaired perfusion.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Brain Infarction / pathology*
  • Diffusion
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Middle Aged
  • Perfusion
  • Predictive Value of Tests