The purpose of this study was to evaluate chronological patterns of arterial wall contrast enhancement in contrast-enhanced high-resolution MRI (CE-HR-MRI) in patients with moyamoya disease (MMD).
The authors performed a blinded analysis of clinical and imaging data from MMD patients. Data were analyzed chronologically for each patient and the intensity of arterial wall enhancement was correlated with the clinical and imaging-based progression status of the disease.
A total of 31 MMD patients and 61 imaging time points were included. CE-HR-MRI results were available for 56 time points, representing 112 hemispheric analyses. No arterial wall contrast enhancement (grade 1) was seen in 54 (48%) of the analyses, mild enhancement (grade 2) in 24 (21%), moderate enhancement (grade 3) in 15 (13%), and strong (grade 4) mainly concentric arterial wall contrast enhancement in 19 (17%). Grade 4 contrast enhancement was significantly (p < 0.001) associated with clinical disease progression within 6 months (before or after the MRI) compared to grades 1–3, with positive and negative predictive values of 0.8 and 0.88, respectively. Grades 1 and 2 (no contrast enhancement and only mild contrast enhancement) were highly predictive for stable disease (negative predictive value: 0.95).
A specific chronological increasing and decreasing pattern of arterial wall contrast enhancement associated with “beginning” as well as progression of angiopathy occurs in MMD patients. In clinical practice, CE-HR-MRI of the arterial wall may help to identify patients at risk of new strokes caused by disease progression and hence impel early treatment for future stroke prevention. Understanding of this temporary enhancement of the arterial wall might also bring new insights into the etiology of MMD.