Diffusion-weighted MRI for monitoring neurovascular interventions
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Carotid stenting is increasingly considered as treatment for carotid artery disease. A reliable noninvasive method is desirable for assessing the safety of the procedure. Diffusion-weighted MRI (DWI) is sensitive to early brain ischaemia which becoming widely available and might therefore serve this purpose. We prospectively studied 19 patients referred for investigation of carotid artery disease by echo-planar whole-brain DWI before and within 24 h of stenting. The images obtained at a high b value were examined by two independent blinded reviewers for new high-signal areas consistent with ischaemia. We found that 15 patients had no new changes after stenting. One patient showed enlargement of a posterior watershed lesion after the procedure, which correlated with an increase in neurological deficit. Three other patients had presumed small embolic infarcts on DWI; two were asymptomatic and one had weakness at the hand that corresponded to an embolic infarct with a lesion on DWI in the hand notch. There were no false- positive or -negative results on DWI, when compared to clinical findings. DWI is thus a new method that can demonstrate neurologically silent or asymptomatic infants. It can be used to help to assess the safety and efficacy of neurovascular intervention.
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