Purpose: To compare the effectiveness of a high-spatial-resolution susceptibility-weighted (SW) magnetic resonance (MR) imaging technique with that of a conventional gradient-recalled-echo (GRE) MR imaging technique for detection of hemorrhage in children and adolescents with diffuse axonal injury (DAI).
Materials and methods: Seven young patients with a mean Glasgow Coma Scale score of 7 +/- 4 (SD) at admission were imaged a mean of 5 days +/- 3 after injury. High-spatial-resolution three-dimensional GRE imaging performed with postprocessing by using a normalized phase mask was compared with conventional GRE MR imaging. The total and mean values of lesion number and apparent hemorrhage volume load determined with both examinations were compared. Mean values were compared by using paired t test analysis. Differences were considered to be significant at P < or =.05.
Results: Hemorrhagic lesions were much more visible on SW MR images than on conventional GRE MR images. SW MR imaging depicted 1,038 hemorrhagic DAI lesions with an apparent total hemorrhage volume of 57,946 mm3. GRE MR imaging depicted 162 lesions with an apparent total hemorrhage volume of 28,893 mm3. SW MR imaging depicted a significantly higher mean number of lesions in all patients than did GRE MR imaging, according to results of visual (P =.004) and computer (P =.004) counting analyses. The mean hemorrhage volume load for all patients also was significantly greater (P =.014) by using SW MR imaging according to computer analysis. SW MR imaging appeared to depict much smaller hemorrhagic lesions than GRE MR imaging. The majority (59%) of individual hemorrhagic DAI lesions seen on SW MR images were small in area (<10 mm(2)), whereas the majority (43%) of lesions seen on GRE images were larger in area (10-20 mm(2)).
Conclusion: SW MR imaging depicts significantly more small hemorrhagic lesions than does conventional GRE MR imaging and therefore has the potential to improve diagnosis of DAI.
Copyright RSNA, 2003