Transient global amnesia: 7 Tesla MRI reveals more hippocampal lesions with diffusion restriction compared to 1.5 and 3 Tesla MRI

Neuroradiology. 2022 Jun 27. doi: 10.1007/s00234-022-02998-7. Online ahead of print.


Purpose: To assess the ability of 7 T MRI to detect hippocampal DWI lesions in the acute phase of TGA compared to 1.5 T/3 T MRI.

Methods: Patients with a clinical diagnosis consistent with TGA and a 1.5/3 T MRI underwent an additional 7 T MRI when the 7 T system was available for clinical use, thus serving as their own controls.

Results: Thirteen TGA patients with a median age of 68.5 years (range 46-77 years) were included and imaged at 1.5/3 T (median 17 h after onset of symptoms, range 3-23 h) and 7 T (median 23 h after onset, range 15-46 h). The 7 T MRIs were performed a median of 15 h after the 1.5/3 T MRIs (range 1-28 h). At 1.5/3 T, six patients (46%) were found to have at least one hippocampal DWI-lesions supporting the TGA diagnosis, which increased to 11 patients (85%) when examined at 7 T (p = 0.03). At 1.5/3 T, nine hippocampal DWI lesions were detected, which increased to 19 at 7 T, giving an increased detection rate of 111% (p = 0.002). Both neuroradiologists found the hippocampal DWI lesions at 7 T to have higher conspicuity and be easier to categorize as true findings compared to 1.5/3 T.

Conclusion: Seven-Tesla MRI showed both a statistically significant increase in the total number of detected hippocampal DWI lesions and the proportion of patients with at least one hippocampal DWI lesion supporting the TGA diagnosis compared to 1.5/3 T. Clinical use of 7 T will increase the number of patients having their TGA diagnosis supported by MRI, which can be especially useful in patients with negative 1.5/3 T MRI and low clinical certainty.

Keywords: 7 T; 7 T MRI; DWI lesion; Hippocampal lesion; TGA.