99mTechnetium HMPAO imaging in children with the Sturge-Weber syndrome: a study of nine cases with CT and MRI correlation
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Demonstration of the full extent of abnormality in patients with the Sturge-Weber syndrome (SWS) is important for prognosis and in planning surgery to remove the seizure focus. We compared single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), MRI and CT in nine children under the age of 4 years with seizures as part of SWS, in an attempt to determine the optimal method of imaging in different clinical settings. Seven unilateral and two bilateral cases were studied by interictal 99mtechnetium hexamethylpropyleneamineoxime (HMPAO) SPECT, and contrast-enhanced CT and MRI, giving information on 11 abnormal hemispheres. All imaging modalities showed abnormalities in every child. Perfusion imaging showed focal regions of decreased uptake in 9 of 11 (82 %) abnormal hemispheres and demonstrated a widespread decrease but no focal defect in 2; it also revealed crossed cerebellar diaschisis in 2 cases. CT demonstrated typical gyriform calcification in 9 of 11 (82 %) affected hemispheres. Contrast-enhanced MRI showed more extensive involvement than contrast-enhanced CT in 5 of 11 (45 %) cases. The area of hypoperfusion shown by SPECT was smaller than the area of contrast enhancement on MRI in 6 of 11 cases (55 %), comparable in 3 (27 %) and larger in 2 cases (18 %). CT is sufficient to confirm the clinical diagnosis of SWS, but MRI frequently shows more extensive abnormal areas. 99mTc HMPAO imaging is a useful addition when it is important to know the full extent of the disease, for example prior to surgery. It is likely to detect areas of hypoperfusion, representing ischaemic regions, which may act as an epileptogenic focus and may not be shown by CT or MRI.
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