Comparison of CT and three MR sequences for detecting and categorizing early (48 hours) hemorrhagic transformation in hyperacute ischemic stroke

AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2004 Jun-Jul;25(6):939-44.


Background and purpose: Our goal was to compare the sensitivity of CT and three MR sequences in detecting and categorizing early (48 hours) hemorrhagic transformation (HT) in hyperacute ischemic stroke.

Methods: Twenty-five consecutive patients with hyperacute ischemic stroke (<6 hours) without MR signs of cerebral bleeding at admission were included. Twenty-one underwent thrombolytic therapy. A standardized follow-up protocol, performed 48 hours after admission, combined brain CT scan and MR examination (1.5 T) including fast spin-echo-fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FSE-FLAIR), echo-planar spin-echo (EPI-SE) T2-weighted, and EPI-gradient-recalled echo (GRE) T2*-weighted sequences. Both CT scans and MR images were obtained within as short a time span as possible between techniques (mean delay, 64 minutes). CT scans and MR images were independently rated as negative or positive for bleeding and categorized for bleeding severity (five classes) by two blinded observers. Prevalence of positive cases, intra- and interobserver agreement, and shifts in bleeding categorization between respective modalities and sequences were assessed.

Results: Twelve patients (48%) were rated positive for HT on the basis of findings of at least one technique or sequence. From this subset of bleeding patients, seven (58%) had positive CT findings, nine (75%) had positive FSE-FLAIR and EPI-SE T2-weighted findings, and 12 (100%) had positive EPI-GRE T2*-weighted findings. CT had lower intra- and interobserver agreement for positivity than did MR imaging. Among the seven patients with positive CT and MR findings, only two had convergent ratings for bleeding category based on findings of two modalities. The five remaining had upward grading from CT to MR, which varied according to pulse sequence.

Conclusion: MR imaging depicted more hemorrhages and had higher intra- and interobserver agreement than did CT. The EPI-GRE T2*-weighted sequence demonstrated highest sensitivity. Equivocal upward shifts in bleeding categorization were observed from CT to MR imaging and between MR images.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Brain Ischemia / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Hemorrhages / diagnosis*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Stroke / diagnosis*
  • Time Factors
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*