Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Plaque Morphology, Burden, and Distribution in Patients With Symptomatic Middle Cerebral Artery Stenosis
Background and Purpose—Intracranial atherosclerosis is a major cause of ischemic stroke worldwide. Intracranial vessel wall imaging is an upcoming field of interest to assess intracranial atherosclerosis. In this study, we investigated total intracranial plaque burden in patients with symptomatic middle cerebral artery stenosis, assessed plaque morphological features, and compared features of symptomatic and asymptomatic lesions using a 3T vessel wall sequence.
Methods—Nineteen consecutive Chinese patients with ischemic stroke and transient ischemic attack (mean age: 67 years; 7 females) with a middle cerebral artery stenosis were scanned at 3T magnetic resonance imaging; the protocol included a time-of-flight magnetic resonance angiography and the T1-weighted volumetric isotropically reconstructed turbo spin echo acquisition sequence before and after (83%) contrast administration. Chi-square tests were used to assess associations between different plaque features. Statistical significance was set at P<0.05.
Results—Vessel wall lesions were identified in 18 patients (95%), totaling 57 lesions in 494 segments (12% of segments). Lesions were located primarily in the anterior circulation (82%). Eccentric lesions were associated with a focal thickening pattern and concentric lesions with a diffuse thickening pattern (P<0.001). When differentiating between asymptomatic and symptomatic lesions, an association (P<0.05) was found between eccentricity and asymptomatic lesions, but not for enhancement or a specific thickening pattern. Symptomatic lesions did not have any specific morphological features.
Conclusions—Our results lead to a 2-fold conclusion: (1) The classification system of both thickening pattern and distribution of the lesion can be simplified by using distribution pattern only and (2) differentiation between symptomatic and asymptomatic atherosclerotic lesions was possible using intracranial vessel wall imaging.
- Received April 12, 2016.
- Revision received April 12, 2016.
- Accepted April 19, 2016.
- © 2016 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 Non-Commercial-NoDervis License, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided that the original work is properly cited, the use is noncommercial, and no modifications or adaptations are made.