Objective: To assess the role of magnetic resonance imaging, specifically magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) and susceptibility-weighted imaging (SWI), in the evaluation of children with traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Data sources: Literature review and data from our recently published clinical studies.
Study selection: Children with pediatric TBI who underwent SWI. SWI is a 3-dimensional high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging technique that is more sensitive in detecting hemorrhagic lesions seen with diffuse axonal injury (DAI) than conventional imaging. MRS acquires metabolite information that reflects neuronal integrity and function from multiple brain regions and offers early prognostic information regarding outcome.
Data extraction: Literature review.
Data synthesis: Literature review and review of recently published data from our institution.
Conclusions: The data suggest that more sensitive imaging techniques that provide early evidence of injury and that are better predictors of outcome are needed to identify children at risk for such deficits. Specifically, the number and volume of hemorrhagic DAI lesions as well as changes in spectral metabolites such as reduced N-acetylaspartate or elevations in choline-related compounds correlate with neurologic disability and impairments of global intelligence, memory, and attention.