Evaluation of Cranial and Cervical Arteries and Brain Tissue in Transient Ischemic Attack Patients with Magnetic Resonance Angiography and Diffusion-Weighted Imaging

Med Sci Monit. 2015 Jun 15:21:1726-31. doi: 10.12659/msm.894388.


Background: Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) and diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) have been widely used in the prediction of ischemic stroke; however, the differences of the 2 methods in detection the artery lesion differences between transient ischemic attack (TIA) and infarction patients have been long neglected. We performed the present study to investigate the differences between vessel characteristics detected by MRA and DWI in acute stroke and TIA patients.

Material and methods: We classified 110 subjects into 2 groups and all the patients underwent both MRA and DWI. The degree of stenosis of cranial and cervical arteries, the distribution of the stenosis, the development and changes of the vessels, and the DWI scanning results of the brain tissue were all analyzed.

Results: We detected a significant difference in the number and the degree of stenosis of cranial and cervical arteries among the 3 groups (P=0.006). Compared with health controls, patients with TIA and cerebral infraction had much more severe stenosis and occlusive arteries (P<0.05). However, no significant difference was detected between TIA and cerebral infraction patients (P=0.148). Moreover, a higher rate of unilateral vertebral artery dysplasia was found in the vertebrobasilar TIA patients. Higher lesion signals were also observed by DWI in TIA patients of internal carotid artery system (4/8, 50%).

Conclusions: Vessel characteristics were not significantly different between TIA and infarction patients. Unilateral vertebral artery hypoplasia was a predisposing factor for vertebrobasilar TIA and ischemic focus in DWI detection was always caused by severe artery lesions.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Brain / blood supply*
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Cerebral Arteries / pathology*
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ischemic Attack, Transient / pathology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Angiography
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Skull / pathology
  • Stroke / pathology*