Background and purpose: To study the feasibility and clinical utility of head-neck joint high-resolution vessel wall imaging (HNJ-VWI) in the assessment of ischemic stroke.
Methods: We reviewed our institutional HNJ-VWI database. Patients with transient ischemic attack (TIA) or ischemic stroke were included. Abnormal findings of intracranial and/or extracranial artery were assessed on three-dimensional time-of-flight magnetic resonance angiography (3D TOF MRA) and HNJ-VWI modified from high-resolution 3D T1 sequence and classified into three groups including intracranial, extracranial and coexisting based on the locations. Etiologies of stroke were recorded according to Trial of Org 10172 in Acute Stroke Treatment criteria.
Results: One hundred and ten consecutive patients were studied. 3D TOF MRA displayed 71.8% (79/110, based on patients) abnormal arteries (stenosis or occlusion) , while HNJ-VWI displayed 96.3% (106/110) abnormal arteries (plaque,wall thickness and occlusion) including four isolated extracranial lesions and ten coexisting lesions. The etiologies of TIA/ischemic stroke included large artery atherosclerosis (80 cases), cerebral small vessel disease (6 cases), cardiogenic (2 cases), dissection (6 cases), vasculitis (4 cases), moyamoya disease (6 cases), others (2 cases) and undetermined (4 cases). For patients with atherosclerosis stroke, re-infarctions were more common in coexisting group than intracranial group (extracranial vs. intracranial vs coexisting: 0% vs. 9.1% vs. 43.7%, p = 0.001).
Conclusions: HNJ-VWI is a feasible and valuable technique in assessment of ischemic stroke by detecting extracranial and intracranial artery abnormalities with one-step scan.
Keywords: Ischemic Stroke; Magnetic Resonance Imaging; high-resolution; vessel wall imaging.
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