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Utility of an ultrafast magnetic resonance imaging protocol in recent and semi-recent strokes

Abstract

Objective: To evaluate the technical feasibility of an integrated ultrafast head magnetic resonance (MR) protocol using a sensitivity encoding (SENSE) technique for depicting parenchymal ischaemia and vascular compromise in patients with suspected recent stroke.

Methods: 23 patients were evaluated with the ultrafast MR protocol using T2, T1, fluid attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR), 3D time of flight magnetic resonance angiography (MRA), and diffusion weighted imaging (DWI) sequences. These were compared with routine conventional MR sequences.

Results: One patient could not tolerate conventional imaging, although imaging using the three minute head SENSE protocol was diagnostic. Both conventional and ultrafast protocols were of similar diagnostic yield in the remaining patients. There were no significant differences in clinical diagnostic quality for the T1, T2, FLAIR, and DWI sequences. One MRA examination was of better quality when SENSE was used, owing to reduced motion artefacts and shorter imaging time.

Conclusions: It is possible to undertake a comprehensive MR examination in stroke patients in approximately three to five minutes. Ultrafast imaging may become a useful triage tool before thrombolytic therapy. It may be of particular benefit in patients unable to tolerate longer sequences. Further work is necessary to confirm these findings in hyperacute stroke.

  • DWI, diffusion weighted imaging
  • FLAIR, fluid attenuated inversion recovery
  • MRA, magnetic resonance angiography
  • PWI, perfusion weighted imaging
  • SENSE, sensitivity encoding
  • SMASH, simultaneous acquisition of spatial harmonics
  • SNR, signal to noise ratio
  • brain
  • ischaemia
  • MRI

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