Pediatric Radiology

, Volume 40, Issue 8, pp 1390–1396 | Cite as

Appearances of diffuse excessive high signal intensity (DEHSI) on MR imaging following preterm birth

  • Anthony R. Hart
  • Michael F. Smith
  • Alan S. Rigby
  • Lauren I. Wallis
  • Elspeth H. Whitby
Original Article



Diffuse damage to the periventricular white matter has recently been suggested to be a cause of the cognitive deficits seen following preterm birth. It is unclear whether this form of injury can be visualised on MR imaging, but one group has described diffuse excessive high signal intensity (DEHSI) as a possible form of diffuse white matter injury. This finding is dependant on window imaging and the subjective assessment of the reviewer, but little data have been published on the degree of subjectivity on its appearance among raters.


To assess the subjectivity of DEHSI on conventional and ultrafast T2-weighted MR imaging following preterm birth.

Materials and methods

An observational study of 40 preterm infants who had MR imaging of the brain around term-equivalent age, including conventional fast spin-echo (FSE) and ultrafast single-shot fast spin-echo (SSFSE) T2-weighted sequences in the axial plane. Images were anonymised and scored twice by four observers for the presence of DEHSI. Inter- and intra-observer agreement were calculated.


Sixty-five percent of conventional and 100% of the ultrafast images were of diagnostic quality. DEHSI was noted in between 0% and 69.2% of conventional images and 27.5–90% of the ultrafast images. Inter- and intra-observer agreement ranged from none to moderate.


The visual appearances of DEHSI on conventional FSE and ultrafast SSFSE T2-W images are highly subjective, limiting its clinical application.


White matter Periventricular leukomalacia MRI Preterm Infant 



The authors wish to thank Dr Dan Connolly for his help with this study.

Financial disclosure

Dr Hart’s post is funded by a grant from the Jessop Baby Fund. The funding source had no involvement in study design, data collection, interpretation or decision to publish.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anthony R. Hart
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  • Michael F. Smith
    • 1
  • Alan S. Rigby
    • 2
  • Lauren I. Wallis
    • 3
  • Elspeth H. Whitby
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Neonatology, Jessop WingSheffield Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation TrustSheffieldUK
  2. 2.Postgraduate Medical Centre, Castle Hill HospitalUniversity of HullEast YorkshireUK
  3. 3.Academic Unit of Radiology, Royal Hallamshire HospitalUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldUK
  4. 4.Department of Academic Radiology, Royal Hallamshire HospitalUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldUK

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