Background: Non-enhancing black holes (neBHs) are more common in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients with longer disease durations and progressive disease subtypes.
Objective: Our aim was to analyse the added value of neBHs in patients with clinically isolated syndromes (CISs) for predicting conversion to clinically definite MS (CDMS).
Methods: Patients were classified based on the presence or absence of neBHs and on the number of Barkhof-Tintoré (B-T) criteria fulfilled. Dissemination in space (DIS) was defined as the presence of at least three of the four B-T criteria. Dissemination in time (DIT)1 was defined by simultaneous presence of enhancing and non-enhancing lesions. DIT2 was defined by simultaneous presence of neBHs and T2 lesions not apparent on T1-weighted images.
Results: Focal T2-hyperintense brain lesions were identified in 87.7% of the 520 CIS patients, and 41.4% of them presented at least one neBH. Patients meeting DIS, DIT1, and DIT2 had a significantly higher rate of conversion to CDMS. After adjusting for DIS, only patients who fulfilled DIT1 preserved a significant increase in CDMS conversion.
Conclusions: Non-enhancing black holes in CIS patients are associated with a higher risk of conversion to CDMS. However, the predictive value of this finding is lost when added to the DIS criteria.
Keywords: Clinically isolated syndrome; diagnosis; magnetic resonance imaging.
© The Author(s) 2014.