Diffusion-weighted imaging improves outcome prediction in pediatric traumatic brain injury

J Neurotrauma. 2008 Oct;25(10):1153-62. doi: 10.1089/neu.2007.0494.


Diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) and consequent apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) maps have been used for lesion detection and as a predictor of outcome in adults with traumatic brain injury (TBI), but few studies have been reported in children. We evaluated the role of DWI and ADC for outcome prediction after pediatric TBI (n=37 TBI; n=10 controls). Fifteen regions of interest (ROIs) were manually drawn on ADC maps that were grouped for analysis into peripheral gray matter, peripheral white matter, deep gray and white matter, and posterior fossa. All ROIs excluded areas that appeared abnormal on T2-weighted images (T2WI). Acute injury severity was measured using the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score, and 6-12-month outcomes were assessed using the Pediatric Cerebral Performance Category Scale (PCPCS) score. Patients were categorized into five groups: (1) controls; (2) all TBI patients; (3) mild/moderate TBI with good outcomes; (4) severe TBI with good outcomes; and (5) severe TBI with poor outcomes. ADC values in the peripheral white matter were significantly reduced in children with severe TBI with poor outcomes (72.8+/-14.4x10(-3) mm2/sec) compared to those with severe TBI and good outcomes (82.5+/-3.8x10(-3) mm2/sec; p<0.05). We also found that the average total brain ADC value alone had the greatest ability to predict outcome and could correctly predict outcome in 84% of cases. Assessment of DWI and ADC values in pediatric TBI is useful in evaluating injury, particularly in brain regions that appear normal on conventional imaging. Early identification of children at high risk for poor outcome may assist in aggressive clinical management of pediatric TBI patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Brain / growth & development
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Brain Injuries / pathology*
  • Brain Injuries / physiopathology
  • Brain Mapping / methods
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diffuse Axonal Injury / pathology*
  • Diffuse Axonal Injury / physiopathology
  • Diffusion
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging / standards
  • Disability Evaluation*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Glasgow Coma Scale
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Nerve Fibers, Myelinated / pathology
  • Nerve Fibers, Myelinated / physiology
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / methods
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis