Rationale and objectives: This cooperative multicenter human study was designed to evaluate the safety, magnetic resonance (MR) imaging characteristics, and clinical response to a single gadolinium contrast agent: gadopentetate dimeglumine.
Material and methods: Ninety-five patients (age range: 1 month to 78 years; sex: 50 males, 45 females) were included in this prospective study. The patients presented clinically with a variety of cranial or spinal signs and symptoms for which an intrathecal contrast myelogram or cisternogram was requested by clinical staff. Via lumbar puncture (20-25 g needle), 3 to 5 mL/ml of cerebrospinal fluid were withdrawn and mixed with a single volume of 0.5 (n = 63), 0.7 (n = 13), 0.8 (n = 12), or 1.0 (n = 7) cc/mL of gadopentetate dimeglumine (Magnevist; Schering, Berlin, Germany). This was then injected into the subarachnoid space, and the needle was removed. Immediate and delayed (up to 96 hours) T1- and T2-weighted MR imaging was performed on super conductive, high-field (1.0-1.5 tesla) imaging units in two or three planes. All patients were hospitalized for an observation period of 24 hours following the procedure, and follow-up neurologic examinations were performed serially for 6 to 12 months afterward.
Results: No patient manifested gross behavioral changes, neurologic alterations, or seizure activity at any time following the procedure. Nineteen patients (20%) experienced postural postlumbar puncture headache, six patients had nausea (6%), and two patients had episodes of vomiting (2%), all which resolved within the first 24 hours of the lumbar puncture with conservative bed rest.
Conclusion: This cooperative study demonstrates the general safety and feasibility of low dose (0.5-1.0 mL/ml) intrathecal gadopentetate dimeglumine administration. The potential useful clinical applications include the evaluation of obstructions and communications of the various subarachnoid spaces, spontaneous or traumatic/postsurgical craniospinal cerebrospinal fluid leaks, and subarachnoid space CSF flow and parenchymal CNS interstitial diffusion dynamics. This worldwide cooperative study seeks to progressively perform human studies for further definitive evaluation of the practical clinical applications, of the relationship of this technique to other imaging studies and modalities, and the long-term safety of the procedure in a larger number of subjects.