Background: We have theorized that clots with stasis are longer. We therefore explored the relationship between thrombus imaging characteristics on noncontrast computed tomography (NCCT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with clot length and pial collaterals on baseline computed tomography angiography (CTA).
Methods: Prospective study of acute ischemic stroke patients (2005-2009) from Keimyung University. Patients with known stroke symptom onset time, baseline CTA, MRI, and with M1-Middle Cerebral Artery (MCA)±intracranial internal carotid artery (ICA) occlusions were included. Clot length and pial collaterals were measured on baseline CTA.
Results: A total of 104 patients (mean age 65.1±12.28 years, 56.7% male, median baseline National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale 13) with intracranial ICA + MCA (n=50) or isolated M1-MCA (n=54) occlusions were included. Hyperdense sign on NCCT had a median clot length of 42.3 mm versus 29.5 mm when hyperdense negative (p=0.02). Clots showing blooming artifact on gradient recall echo MRI had a median length of 39.1 mm versus 24.5 mm without blooming (p=0.005). Patients with poor baseline collaterals on CTA had longer clots than those with intermediate/good collaterals (median clot length 49.4 mm vs 34.9 mm vs 20.5 mm respectively, p<0.001). In censored logistic regression modeling, clot length was an independent predictor of hyperdense sign (p=0.05) and of the presence of blooming artifact (p=0.006).
Conclusions: Clot length and baseline collateral status are independent predictors of clot hyperdensity on NCCT and blooming artifact on gradient recall echo. Longer clots are more likely to be hyperdense and to bloom more, probably because portions of these clots are freshly formed locally due to of stasis of blood around the original clot. This stasis could be because of poor collaterals and inefficient angio-architecture within the cerebral arterial tree.
Keywords: Magnetic Resonance Imaging; stroke; stroke imaging.