Aim: Chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI) is a vascular condition characterized by anomalies of primary veins outside the skull that restrict normal outflow of blood from the brain. CCSVI was recently described as highly prevalent in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), and can be non-invasively diagnosed by Doppler sonography (DS) and invasively by selective venography (SV). The aim of this paper was to investigate the value of neck magnetic resonance venography (MRV) for the diagnosis of CCSVI compared to DS and SV in patients with MS and in healthy controls (HC).
Methods: Ten MS patients and 7 HC underwent DS, 2D-Time-Of-Flight venography (TOF) and 3D-Time Resolved Imaging of Contrast Kinetics angiography (TRICKS). MS patients also underwent SV. The internal jugular veins (IJVs) and the vertebral veins (VVs) were assessed by both MRV sequences, and the findings were validated against SV and DS. SV has been considered the diagnostic gold standard for MS patients.
Results: All MS patients and none of the HC presented CCSVI, according to the DS criteria. This was confirmed by SV. For CCSVI diagnosis, DS showed sensitivity, specificity, accuracy, PPV and NPV of 100%, whereas the figures were 40%, 85%, 58%, 80% and 50% for 3D-TRICKS, and 30%, 85%, 52%, 75% and 46% for 2D-TOF in the IJVs. In MS patients, compared to SV, DS showed sensitivity, specificity, accuracy, PPV and NPV of 100%, 75%, 95%, 94% and 100%, whereas the figures were 31%, 100%, 45%, 100% and 26% for 3D-TRICKS and 25%, 100%, 40%, 100% and 25% for 2D-TOF in the IJVs.
Conclusion: The use of MRV for diagnosis of CCSVI in MS patients has limited value, and the findings should be interpreted with caution and confirmed by other imaging techniques such as DS and SV.