Clinically Confirmed Stroke With Negative Diffusion-Weighted Imaging Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Longitudinal Study of Clinical Outcomes, Stroke Recurrence, and Systematic Review
Background and Purpose—We sought to establish whether the presence (versus absence) of a lesion on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with diffusion weighting (DWI-MRI) at presentation with acute stroke is associated with worse clinical outcomes at 1 year.
Methods—We recruited consecutive patients with a nondisabling ischemic stroke and performed DWI-MRI. Patients were followed up at 1 year to establish stroke recurrence (clinical or on MRI), cognitive impairment (Addenbrooke Cognitive Assessment Revised,<88) and modified Rankin Scale.
Results—A median of 4 days post stroke, one third (76/264; 29%) of patients did not have a DWI lesion (95% confidence interval, 23%–35%). There was no statistically significant difference between those with and without a DWI lesion with respect to age or vascular risk factors. Patients without a lesion were more likely to be women or have previous stroke. At 1 year, 11 of 76 (14%) patients with a DWI-negative index stroke had a clinical diagnosis of recurrent stroke or transient ischemic attack, 33% had cognitive impairment (Addenbrooke Cognitive Assessment Revised <88), and 40% still had modified Rankin Scale >1, no different from DWI-positive patients; DWI-positive patients were more likely to have a new lesion on MRI (14%), symptomatic or asymptomatic, than DWI-negative patients (2%; P=0.02). Our data were consistent with 6 other studies (total n=976), pooled proportion of DWI-negative patients was 21% (95% confidence interval, 12%–32%).
Conclusions—Nearly one third of patients with nondisabling stroke do not have a relevant lesion on acute DWI-MRI. Patients with negative DWI-MRI had no better prognosis than patients with a lesion. DWI-negative stroke patients should receive secondary prevention.
- Received July 2, 2015.
- Revision received August 21, 2015.
- Accepted August 24, 2015.
- © 2015 The Authors.
Stroke is published on behalf of the American Heart Association, Inc., by Wolters Kluwer. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided that the original work is properly cited.