Ann Neurol. 2024 May 13. doi: 10.1002/ana.26954. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVE: For stroke patients with unknown time of onset, mismatch between diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) and fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can guide thrombolytic intervention. However, access to MRI for hyperacute stroke is limited. Here, we sought to evaluate whether a portable, low-field (LF)-MRI scanner can identify DWI-FLAIR mismatch in acute ischemic stroke.

METHODS: Eligible patients with a diagnosis of acute ischemic stroke underwent LF-MRI acquisition on a 0.064-T scanner within 24 h of last known well. Qualitative and quantitative metrics were evaluated. Two trained assessors determined the visibility of stroke lesions on LF-FLAIR. An image coregistration pipeline was developed, and the LF-FLAIR signal intensity ratio (SIR) was derived.

RESULTS: The study included 71 patients aged 71 ± 14 years and a National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale of 6 (interquartile range 3-14). The interobserver agreement for identifying visible FLAIR hyperintensities was high (κ = 0.85, 95% CI 0.70-0.99). Visual DWI-FLAIR mismatch had a 60% sensitivity and 82% specificity for stroke patients <4.5 h, with a negative predictive value of 93%. LF-FLAIR SIR had a mean value of 1.18 ± 0.18 <4.5 h, 1.24 ± 0.39 4.5-6 h, and 1.40 ± 0.23 >6 h of stroke onset. The optimal cut-point for LF-FLAIR SIR was 1.15, with 85% sensitivity and 70% specificity. A cut-point of 6.6 h was established for a FLAIR SIR <1.15, with an 89% sensitivity and 62% specificity.

INTERPRETATION: A 0.064-T portable LF-MRI can identify DWI-FLAIR mismatch among patients with acute ischemic stroke. Future research is needed to prospectively validate thresholds and evaluate a role of LF-MRI in guiding thrombolysis among stroke patients with uncertain time of onset. ANN NEUROL 2024.

PMID:38738750 | DOI:10.1002/ana.26954