Background: Existing methods to predict recovery after severe traumatic brain injury lack accuracy. The aim of this study is to determine the prognostic value of quantitative diffusion tensor imaging (DTI).
Methods: In a multicenter study, the authors prospectively enrolled 105 patients who remained comatose at least 7 days after traumatic brain injury. Patients underwent brain magnetic resonance imaging, including DTI in 20 preselected white matter tracts. Patients were evaluated at 1 yr with a modified Glasgow Outcome Scale. A composite DTI score was constructed for outcome prognostication on this training database and then validated on an independent database (n=38). DTI score was compared with the International Mission for Prognosis and Analysis of Clinical Trials Score.
Results: Using the DTI score for prediction of unfavorable outcome on the training database, the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve was 0.84 (95% CI: 0.75-0.91). The DTI score had a sensitivity of 64% and a specificity of 95% for the prediction of unfavorable outcome. On the validation-independent database, the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve was 0.80 (95% CI: 0.54-0.94). On the training database, reclassification methods showed significant improvement of classification accuracy (P < 0.05) compared with the International Mission for Prognosis and Analysis of Clinical Trials score. Similar results were observed on the validation database.
Conclusions: White matter assessment with quantitative DTI increases the accuracy of long-term outcome prediction compared with the available clinical/radiographic prognostic score.