Application of FLAIR Vascular Hyperintensity-DWI Mismatch in Ischemic Stroke Depending on Semi-Quantitative DWI-Alberta Stroke Program Early CT Score

Front Neurol. 2019 Sep 26;10:994. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2019.00994. eCollection 2019.


Objective: Diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI)-Alberta Stroke Program Early CT Score (ASPECTS) is a simple, widely used method to estimate the size of the infarct. Our aim is to determine whether there is a relationship between DWI-ASPECTS and fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) vascular hyperintensity (FVH)-DWI mismatch and to better quantify FVH-DWI mismatch to assess the prognosis of cerebral infarction. Materials and Methods: A retrospective analysis of 109 patients with MCA stenosis or occlusion with cerebral infarction was performed by dividing this cohort into FVH-DWI match group and FVH-DWI mismatch group based on FVH and DWI results. The clinical and imaging data of these two groups of patients were reviewed and analyzed to identify associations between FVH-DWI mismatch and prognosis of patients for preservation of neurological function. Correlation between DWI-ASPECTS and FVH-DWI mismatch was also performed. Results: FVH-DWI mismatch was present in 66/109 (60.55%) patients, and FVH-DWI match was present in 43/109 (39.45%). Patients with FVH-DWI mismatch had higher DWI-ASPECTS (7.0 vs. 4.0, P < 0.001) and lower mRS at 3 months (3.0 vs. 4.0, P < 0.001) than patients without FVH-DWI mismatch. Multiple regression analysis suggested that DWI-ASPECTS (OR = 4.7, 95% CI = 2.5-9.2, P < 0.001) remained significantly associated with FVH-DWI mismatch. Two threshold points for DWI-ASPECTS of 3 and 8 can be used to distinguish whether there is a mismatch in FVH-DWI by smooth curve fitting. Conclusions: The DWI-ASPECTS score was an independent predictor of FVH-DWI mismatch. At DWI-ASPECTS ≤ 3, the FVH-DWI mismatch offers no prognostic value; whereas, at DWI-ASPECTS ≥ 8, the FVH-DWI mismatch had the highest prognostic value. DWI-ASPECTS can roughly determine whether there is a FVH-DWI mismatch in order to select optimal clinical treatment and accurately assess prognosis.

Keywords: ASPECTS; cerebral infarction; fluid-attenuated inversion recovery vascular hyperintensity; magnetic resonance imaging; stroke.