Purpose: To correlate magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and pathologic findings in premature infants with periventricular leukomalacia (PVL).
Materials and methods: Eight premature infants with PVL who died after 3-7 weeks of life were studied with in vivo T1-weighted MR imaging, and imaging patterns were compared with hypoxic-ischemic injuries at pathologic analysis.
Results: Cavities were seen as zones of absent or weak signal intensity. Translucent sparsely cellular zones appeared as areas of intermediate intensity, and cellular reactions were seen as limited linear or punctate zones of increased intensity, usually less intense than the cortex. MR imaging provided reliable depiction of these lesions, with adequate estimation of their volume and topography. However, the extent of periventricular cellular lesions was underestimated. In one case, blood seen as hyperintense or isointense zones masked portions of cystic lesions, and in three cases small thalamic lesions were overlooked.
Conclusion: With the above limitations, T1-weighted MR imaging offers precise evaluation of PVL.