Objectives: The objective of this work is to present the software tool ANTONIA, which has been developed to facilitate a quantitative analysis of perfusion-weighted MRI (PWI) datasets in general as well as the subsequent multi-parametric analysis of additional datasets for the specific purpose of acute ischemic stroke patient dataset evaluation.
Methods: Three different methods for the analysis of DSC or DCE PWI datasets are currently implemented in ANTONIA, which can be case-specifically selected based on the study protocol. These methods comprise a curve fitting method as well as a deconvolution-based and deconvolution-free method integrating a previously defined arterial input function. The perfusion analysis is extended for the purpose of acute ischemic stroke analysis by additional methods that enable an automatic atlas-based selection of the arterial input function, an analysis of the perfusion-diffusion and DWI-FLAIR mismatch as well as segmentation-based volumetric analyses.
Results: For reliability evaluation, the described software tool was used by two observers for quantitative analysis of 15 datasets from acute ischemic stroke patients to extract the acute lesion core volume, FLAIR ratio, perfusion-diffusion mismatch volume with manually as well as automatically selected arterial input functions, and follow-up lesion volume. The results of this evaluation revealed that the described software tool leads to highly reproducible results for all parameters if the automatic arterial input function selection method is used.
Conclusion: Due to the broad selection of processing methods that are available in the software tool, ANTONIA is especially helpful to support image-based perfusion and acute ischemic stroke research projects.
Keywords: Magnetic resonance imaging; brain mapping; cerebrovascular stroke; computer-assisted image processing.