Digital subtraction angiography (DSA) is commonly performed after pial synangiosis surgery for pediatric moyamoya disease to assess the degree of neovascularization. However, angiography is invasive, and the risk of ionizing radiation is a concern in children. In this study, the authors aimed to identify whether arterial spin labeling (ASL) can predict postoperative angiogram grading. In addition, they sought to determine whether patients who underwent ASL imaging without DSA had similar postoperative outcomes when compared with patients who received ASL imaging and postoperative DSA.
The medical records of pediatric patients who underwent pial synangiosis for moyamoya disease at a quaternary children’s hospital were reviewed during a 10-year period. ASL-only and ASL+DSA cohorts were analyzed. The frequency of preoperative and postoperative symptoms was analyzed within each cohort. Three neuroradiologists assigned a visual ASL grade for each patient indicating the change from the preoperative to postoperative ASL perfusion sequences. A postoperative neovascularization grade was also assigned for patients who underwent DSA.
Overall, 21 hemispheres of 14 patients with ASL only and 14 hemispheres of 8 patients with ASL+DSA were analyzed. The groups had similar rates of MRI evidence of acute or chronic stroke preoperatively (61.9% in the ASL-only group and 64.3% in the ASL+DSA group). In the entire cohort, transient ischemic attack (TIA) (p = 0.027), TIA composite (TIA or unexplained neurological symptoms; p = 0.0006), chronic headaches (p = 0.035), aphasia (p = 0.019), and weakness (p = 0.001) all had decreased frequency after intervention. The authors found a positive association between revascularization observed on DSA and the visual ASL grading (p = 0.048). The visual ASL grades in patients with an angiogram indicating robust neovascularization demonstrated improved perfusion when compared with the ASL grades of patients with a poor neovascularization.
Noninvasive ASL perfusion imaging had an association with postoperative DSA neoangiogenesis following pial synangiosis surgery in children. There were no significant postoperative stroke differences between the ASL-only and ASL+DSA cohorts. Both cohorts demonstrated significant improvement in preoperative symptoms after surgery. Further study in larger cohorts is necessary to determine whether the results of this study are validated in order to circumvent the invasive catheter angiogram.