Hypointense Vessels Detected by Susceptibility-Weighted Imaging Identifies Tissue at Risk of Infarction in Anterior Circulation Stroke

Bastian Cheng*, Nikolaus Schröder, Nils Daniel Forkert, Peter Ludewig, André Kemmling, Tim Magnus, Jens Fiehler, Christian Gerloff, Götz Thomalla

*Corresponding author for this work
1 Citation (Scopus)


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The diagnostic value of susceptibility-weighted magnetic resonance imaging of acute stroke patients has shown potential as a surrogate marker of impaired hemodynamics. We investigate the value of asymmetrical hypointense cerebral vessels (HV) for the identification of vessel status and tissue at risk of infarction (TaR). METHODS: Symmetry of HV was visually rated on SWI data from a well-defined population of acute anterior circulation stroke with onset <24 hours. MRI perfusion data was analyzed and volumes of tissue at risk segmented using a delay threshold of Tmax> 6 seconds. Status of the extra- and intracranial arteries was assessed by ultrasound and MR angiography. RESULTS: 35 patients were included (12 women; median age 69 years, IQR 61–77; median NIHSS at admission 10, IQR 6–20). Asymmetrically distributed HV were detected at the stroke hemisphere in 25 patients (71%). Of those, 12 patients displayed occlusion of the middle cerebral artery, whereas occlusion of the extracranial ICA was detected in 6 patients. TaR was larger, yet not significantly different in patients with asymmetrically HV (mean volume 38.9 ml, SD 52.9 ml) compared to patients showing symmetrical HV (4.2 ml; SD 10.7 ml, p-value 0.081). Significant differences where, however, found after excluding patients with extracranial ICA occlusions (42.9 ml; SD 50.4 ml vs. 4.2 ml, SD 10.8 ml, p-value 0.025). CONCLUSION: Visual analysis of HV in SWI identifies tissue at risk in patients with anterior circulation stroke. Potentially pre-existing extracranial ICA occlusions leading to prominent HV have to be considered as a confounding factor.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Neuroimaging
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)414-420
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 01.07.2017

DFG Research Classification Scheme

  • 206-07 Clinical Neurology Neurosurgery and Neuroradiology


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