The goal of this work is to present a broad magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) protocol for use in the study of chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI). The CCSVI MRI protocol includes the following sequences: time-resolved contrast-enhanced 3D MR angiography, 2D time-of-flight MR venography, and 3D volumetric interpolated breath-hold examination to assess venous structural abnormalities; phase-contrast MR imaging at different levels in the neck and thoracic cavity to quantify flow through the veins, arteries, and cerebrospinal fluid; T2-weighted imaging, T2-weighted fluid-attenuated inversion recovery, and pre- and post-contrast T1-weighted imaging of the brain for examinations of parenchymal lesions; and finally, susceptibility-weighted imaging for quantification of iron deposition in the brain. Data from 111 clinically definite multiple sclerosis patients were assessed for potential structural and flow CCSVI risk criteria, including stenosis, atresia, aplasia, dominant to subdominant venous flow ratio (D:sD), and the sum of their flow rates. Of the 111 patients, 50 (45%) were determined to be nonstenotic (NST) with no stenosis or atresia in their internal jugular veins (IJV), and the rest 61 (55%) were stenotic (ST) having at least one internal jugular vein stenosis or atresia. No occurrence of aplasia was observed. A D:sD of greater than 3:1 was observed in 15 (24.6%) patients of the ST group and 2 (4.0%) patients of the NST group. A sum of dominant and subdominant venous flow rate of <8 mL/s was observed in 22 (36.1%) patients of the ST group and 6 (12.0%) patients of the NST group. MRI provides valuable information in the observation of potential CCSVI risk factors. Low total flow in the 2 dominant veins seemed to be the strongest indicator for risk of having stenoses in the multiple sclerosis population.
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