Differential diagnosis of arachnoid cyst from subarachnoid space enlargement by phase-contrast cine MRI

Chin Med J (Engl). 2003 Jan;116(1):116-20. doi: 10.3901/jme.2003.05.116.


Objectives: To reveal the relationship of brain motion and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flow by phase-contrast cine MRI, and to evaluate this technique in differentiating between arachnoid cysts and subarachnoid space enlargement.

Methods: Using a phase-contrast cine MRI pulse sequence, we measured brain motion and CSF flow during the cardiac cycle in 10 healthy volunteers and 10 patients with MRI-suspected arachnoid cyst or subarachnoid space enlargement. CSF stroke volume curve was illustrated according to flow quantification, and time-signal intensity curve was traced. The two curves were compared.

Results: This study showed that brain motion was due to the volume difference between arterial and venous blood flow during a cardiac cycle, and thus drives CSF pulsation. Arachnoid cysts and subarachnoid space enlargement carried different curve patterns, demonstrating that phase-contrast MRI and flow quantification can be a useful and reliable technique for non-invasive evaluation of brain motion and CSF flow.

Conclusion: Arachnoid cysts can be successfully differentiated using phase-contrast cine MRI from subarachnoid space enlargement.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arachnoid Cysts / diagnosis*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Cine
  • Male
  • Subarachnoid Space / pathology*