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Asymmetrical Gadolinium Leakage in Ocular Structures in Stroke Due to Internal Carotid Artery Stenosis or Occlusion



Gadolinium leakage in ocular structures (GLOS) on fluid-attenuated inversion recovery images (FLAIR) is a novel imaging marker in acute ischemic stroke. The present study sought to investigate the frequency and pattern of blood-retina barrier impairment in acute ischemic stroke due to internal carotid artery (ICA) stenosis or occlusion as demonstrated by GLOS.


From a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) report database patients were identified with acute ischemic stroke due to ICA stenosis/occlusion who underwent repeated MRI with intravenous contrast agent administration and FLAIR and MR angiography (MRA). On FLAIR the presence of GLOS was noted in the vitreous body.


Overall 51 patients with a median age of 70 years (interquartile range, IQR 63–77 years) were included. Of these, 22 (43.1%) patients had an ICA stenosis and 29 (56.9%) an ICA occlusion. On contrast-enhanced FLAIR, GLOS was observed in 29 (56.9%) patients: in 7 (13.7%) unilateral, in 15 (68.2%) bilateral asymmetrical and in 7 (31.8%) bilateral symmetrical. In unilateral asymmetrical GLOS, more pronounced enhancement was always found ipsilateral to ICA stenosis/occlusion. In 4 (5.9%) patients with asymmetrical GLOS a pre-existing signal increase in the vitreous body was found on native FLAIR. The presence of GLOS was associated with an impaired collateralization through the circle of Willis (p < 0.001) and external carotid artery branches (p = 0.03).


In patients with ischemic stroke due to ICA stenosis/occlusion, GLOS is frequent, commonly unilateral or bilateral asymmetrical, and in some patients associated with pre-existing ocular signal abnormalities. An insufficient collateralization may contribute to the development of unilateral/asymmetrical GLOS.

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Correspondence to A. Förster.

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A. Förster, H. Wenz, J. Böhme, C. Groden and A. Alonso declare that they have no competing interests.

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A. Förster and H. Wenz contributed equally to this work.

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Förster, A., Wenz, H., Böhme, J. et al. Asymmetrical Gadolinium Leakage in Ocular Structures in Stroke Due to Internal Carotid Artery Stenosis or Occlusion. Clin Neuroradiol 30, 221–228 (2020).

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  • Contrast-enhanced FLAIR
  • GLOS
  • Internal carotid artery occlusion
  • ICA
  • Stroke