New imaging method accurately detects stroke

Diffusion-weighted MR imaging is an accurate way to detect whether a patient has had a stroke–even 24 hours after the patient’s initial symptoms began, a new study shows. The study, the largest of its kind, found that diffusion-weighted MR imaging was about 90 percent accurate in diagnosing stroke, says Mark Mullins, MD, PhD, of Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Mullins was the lead author of the study. Diffusion-weighted MR imaging was 91% accurate if the test was done 0-6 hours after the patient first began having symptoms; accuracy was 89% at 6-12 hours, then 90% at 12-24 hours, says Dr. Mullins.
From American Roentgen Ray Society :Diffusion-weighted MR imaging accurately detects stroke

Diffusion-weighted MR imaging is an accurate way to detect whether a patient has had a stroke–even 24 hours after the patient’s initial symptoms began, a new study shows.

The study, the largest of its kind, found that diffusion-weighted MR imaging was about 90 percent accurate in diagnosing stroke, says Mark Mullins, MD, PhD, of Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Mullins was the lead author of the study. Diffusion-weighted MR imaging was 91% accurate if the test was done 0-6 hours after the patient first began having symptoms; accuracy was 89% at 6-12 hours, then 90% at 12-24 hours, says Dr. Mullins.

The earlier we can accurately detect stroke and treat these patients, the less likely the stroke will be debilitating, says Dr. Mullins.

“Diffusion-weighted MR imaging was 100% specific, meaning that every patient we identified as having had a stroke, had indeed had one. It was 90% sensitive; of the 122 patients studied, 12 had had a stroke, however it wasn’t clear on the diffusion weighted MR images,” says Dr. Mullins.

These results are superior to previously reported studies on CT, which has about a 40-60% accuracy rate. CT of the brain, with the radiologist looking for hemorrhage, is the technique currently used most often to detect stroke, adds Dr. Mullins.

Diffusion-weighted MR imaging is a relatively new technique that creates images based on the diffusion properties of water in human cells. “The technique allows us to create two sequences of images. We can tell if a patient has had a stroke because in one sequence there is a very bright spot; we call it the light bulb sign. In the other sequence that same area is dark,” says Dr. Mullins.

The study will be presented May 7 during the American Roentgen Ray Society Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA.

###
Contact:
Keri J. Sperry, 703-858-4306
Danica Laub, 703-858-4332
Press Room: 619-525-6536


Substack subscription form sign up
The material in this press release comes from the originating research organization. Content may be edited for style and length. Want more? Sign up for our daily email.