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.