Satoru Osuka, Akira Matsushita, Eiichi Ishikawa, Kousaku Saotome, Tetsuya Yamamoto, Aiki Marushima, Naoaki Satou, Alexander Zaboronok, Tomohiko Masumoto and Akira Matsumura
For several decades, clinicians have predicted intraparenchymal brain pressure or brain tissue compression indirectly based on the degree of distortion of the midline structures (midline shift) and ventricle wall (ventriculomegaly) observed on conventional MRI. However, this method has several limitations. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is a novel MRI technique that can provide information about the microstructural properties of compressed tissue. In this study, the authors evaluated whether DTI can precisely define the degree of tissue compression in patients with chronic subdural hematoma (CSDH).
The study sample consisted of 18 patients (mean age 71 years, 10 men and 8 women) with unilateral CSDH and 12 age-matched volunteers. Diffusion tensor imaging results were acquired before and after the surgical irrigation in the CSDH group. Subdural pressure during the operation was also measured. Fractional anisotropy (FA) values were evaluated at several locations, including the gray matter.
The FA values of the gray matter, especially in the caudate nucleus and putamen, were increased in the patients with CSDH compared with the control group. The change in FA data before and after surgery (ΔFA) correlated with the degree of tissue compression evaluated by measurement of the subdural pressure. Furthermore, the increased FA values in patients with CSDH decreased after surgery.
These findings indicate that FA values of the gray matter, especially in the caudate nucleus and putamen, may be important markers of tissue compression. The assessment of FA values of the gray matter will result in a new, less-invasive diagnostic technique to evaluate the degree of brain compression.
Satoru Osuka, Akira Matsushita, Tetsuya Yamamoto, Kousaku Saotome, Tomonori Isobe, Yasushi Nagatomo, Tomohiko Masumoto, Yoji Komatsu, Eiichi Ishikawa and Akira Matsumura
Ventriculomegaly is a common imaging finding in many types of conditions. It is difficult to determine whether it is related to true hydrocephalus or to an atrophic process by using only imaging procedures such as MR imaging after traumatic injury, stroke, or infectious disease. Diffusion tensor (DT) imaging can distinguish the compression characteristics of white matter, indicating that increased diffusion anisotropy may be related to white matter compression. In this preliminary study, the authors compared the DT imaging findings of ventriculomegaly with those of chronic hydrocephalus or atrophy to clarify the potential of diffusion anisotropy in the identification of hydrocephalus.
Ten patients with chronic hydrocephalus, 8 patients with atrophy (defined by conventional devices and surgical outcome), and 14 healthy volunteers underwent DT imaging. Images were acquired before and after shunting or once in cases without shunting. The fractional anisotropy (FA) values at many points around the lateral ventricle were evaluated.
The FA patterns around the lateral ventricle in the chronic hydrocephalus and atrophy groups were different. Especially in the caudate nucleus, FA was increased in the chronic hydrocephalus group compared with the atrophy group. Furthermore, the FA values returned to normal levels after shunt placement.
Assessment of the FA value of the caudate nucleus may be an important, less invasive method for distinguishing true hydrocephalus from ventriculomegaly. Further research in a large number of patients is needed to verify the diagnostic ability of this method.