Objectives: Instead of the mismatch in MRI between the perfusion-weighted imaging (PWI) lesion and the smaller diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) lesion (PWI-DWI mismatch), clinical-DWI mismatch (CDM) has been proposed as a new diagnostic marker of brain tissue at risk of infarction in acute ischemic stroke. The Alberta Stroke Program Early CT Score (ASPECTS) has recently been applied to detect early ischemic change of acute ischemic stroke. The present study applies the CDM concept to DWI data and investigated the utility of the CDM defined by the NIH Stroke Scale (NIHSS) and ASPECTS in patients with non-lacunar anterior circulation infarction.
Methods: Eighty-seven patients with first ever ischemic stroke within 24 hours of onset with symptoms of non-lacunar anterior circulation infarction with the NIHSS score>or=8 were enrolled. Initial lesion extent was measured by the ASPECTS on DWI within 24 hours, and initial neurological score was measured by the NIHSS. As NIHSS>or=8 has been suggested as a clinical indicator of a large volume of ischemic brain tissue, and the majority of patients with non-lacunar anterior infarction with score of NIHSS<8 had lesions with ASPECTS>or=8 on DWI, so CDM was defined as NIHSS>or=8 and DWI-ASPECTS 8>or=. We divided patients into matched and mismatched patient groups, and compared them with respect to background characteristics, neurological findings, laboratory data, radiological findings and outcome.
Results: There were 35 CDM-positive patients (P group, 40.2%) and 52 CDM-negative patients (N group , 59.8%). P group patients had a higher risk of early neurological deterioration (END) than N group patients (37.1% vs 13.5%, p<0.05), which were always accompanied by lesion growth defined by 2 or more points decrease on ASPECTS (36 to 72 hours after onset on CT). The NIHSS at entry were significantly lower in the P group, but there was no difference in the outcome at three months measured by the modified Rankin Scale. However, CDM was not an independent predictor of END by multiple logistic regression analysis.
Conclusions: Patients with CDM had high rate of early neurological deterioration and lesion growth. CDM defined as NIHSS>or=8 and DWI-ASPECTS>or=8 can be another marker for detecting patients with tissue at risk of infarction, but more work is needed to clarify whether this CDM method is useful in acute stroke management.