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Yukihiko Fujii, Ryuichi Tanaka, Shigekazu Takeuchi, Tetsuo Koike, Takashi Minakawa and Osamu Sasaki

✓ In order to evaluate the incidence and risk factors of hematoma enlargement in spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH), 419 cases of ICH were reviewed. The first computerized tomography (CT) scan was performed within 24 hours of onset and the second within 24 hours of admission; a blood sample was taken for laboratory examination within 1 hour of admission. In 60 patients (14.3%) the second CT scan showed an enlarged hematoma. The incidence of enlargement significantly decreased with time (p < 0.05) and significantly increased with the severity of liver dysfunction and the volume of the hematoma on the first CT scan. Patients with an irregularly shaped hematoma had a higher risk of hematoma growth than those with a round hematoma. In addition, patients with hematoma enlargement were more likely to have coagulation abnormalities (low platelet counts and low levels of fibrinogen, α2-antiplasmin activity and platelet aggregation). Moreover, hematoma growth was associated with a poor clinical outcome.

It is concluded that patients admitted to a hospital within 6 hours of onset of ICH, especially those admitted within 2 hours, and patients with liver dysfunction or irregularly shaped large hematomas should be closely observed for at least 6 hours after onset in preparation for emergency surgery, since the risk of hematoma growth in these circumstances is high.

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Yukihiko Fujii, Shigekazu Takeuchi, Osamu Sasaki, Takashi Minakawa, Tetsuo Koike and Ryuichi Tanaka

✓ To determine the incidence of, and risk factors for, the occurrence of rebleeding between admission and early operation (ultra-early rebleeding) in patients with spontaneous subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), the authors reviewed the cases of 179 patients admitted within 24 hours after their last attack of SAH. Thirty-one (17.3%) of these patients had ultra-early rebleeding despite scheduling of early operation (within 24 hours after admission). The incidence of rebleeding significantly decreased as the time interval between the last attack and admission increased. Patients with rebleeding before admission, high systolic blood pressure, intracerebral or intraventricular hematoma, those in poor neurological condition on admission, and those who underwent angiography within 6 hours of the last SAH were significantly more likely to have ultra-early rebleeding than those without these factors. The incidence of rebleeding also significantly increased as levels of enhancement of platelet sensitivity and thrombin—antithrombin complex increased. Multivariate analysis revealed that the following three factors were independently associated with ultra-early rebleeding: the level of enhancement of platelet sensitivity; the time interval between the last attack and admission; and the level of thrombin—antithrombin complex. On the basis of these findings, the authors suggest that many of the risk factors for ultra-early rebleeding are interrelated. A particularly high risk of ultra-early rebleeding was observed in those patients 1) who had platelet hypoaggregability; 2) who were admitted shortly after their last SAH; and 3) whose thrombin—antithrombin complex levels were extremely high and were thus in severe clinical condition.

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Yukihiko Fujii, Shigekazu Takeuchi, Osamu Sasaki, Takashi Minakawa, Tetsuo Koike and Ryuichi Tanaka

✓ This study was undertaken to elucidate comprehensively the serial changes occurring in hemostatic systems after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) and thereby to ascertain whether the examination of the integrity of these systems is helpful in predicting delayed ischemic neurological deficits (DINDs). The authors examined 117 patients admitted to the hospital within 24 hours after onset of SAH. Blood samples were collected from each patient on Days 0 (at admission), 3, 6, 14, and 30. A number of hemostatic parameters were examined in these samples, and the relationships between their changes and DINDs were assessed. Eighteen (15.4%) of the patients exhibited DINDs, and their frequency increased as the severity of subarachnoid clotting increased. Also, the frequency of DINDs was significantly higher in the patients with hydrocephalus on initial computerized tomography (CT) scans than in those without hydrocephalus. Regarding the hemostatic parameters at admission, there was no significant difference between the patients with and without DINDs. On Day 3, however, the fibrinogen and D-dimer levels were higher in the patients with than in those without DINDs. The fibrinogen and thrombin—antithrombin complex levels on Day 6 and the D-dimer level on Day 14 in the patients with DINDs were higher than the corresponding levels in those without DINDs. Multivariate analyses revealed that the following variables (in order of importance) were independent predictors of DINDs: the levels of D-dimer on Day 3, fibrinogen on Day 6, and the presence of hydrocephalus on admission. These data indicate that the levels of hemostatic parameters in concert with the CT findings may enable us to predict the appearance of DINDs.

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Yukihiko Fujii, Naoki Nakayama and Tsutomu Nakada

Because of the high signal-to-noise (S/N) ratio, T2-weighted images obtained using high-field magnetic resonance (MR) imaging systems can be expected to provide high anatomical and contrast resolution. Furthermore, the improved structural and contrast resolution of these high S/N T2-weighted images can be processed for optimum perceptual resolution through the application of gray-scale reversal and expansion of the gray-scale window, known as T2-reversed (T2R) imaging. In this study, the authors investigated high-resolution T2R MR imaging performed on a high-field (3-tesla) system for its clinical utility in detecting various physiological and pathological conditions.

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Yukihiko Fujii, Naoki Nakayama and Tsutomu Nakada

Because of the high signal-to-noise (S/N) ratio, T2-weighted images obtained using high-field magnetic resonance (MR) imaging systems can be expected to provide high anatomical and contrast resolution. Furthermore, the improved structural and contrast resolution of these high S/N T2-weighted images can be processed for optimum perceptual resolution through the application of gray-scale reversal and expansion of the gray-scale window, known as T2-reversed (T2R) imaging. In this study, the authors investigated high-resolution T2R MR imaging performed on a high-field (3-tesla) system for its clinical utility in detecting various physiological and pathological conditions.

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Tsutomu Nakada, Naoki Nakayama, Yukihiko Fujii and Ingrid L. Kwee

✓ The utility of three-dimensional anisotropy contrast (3DAC) magnetic resonance (MR) axonography, a method sensitive to neuronal fibers and their directionality, was investigated in the clinical setting using a 3-tesla MR imaging system based on a General Electric Signa platform. The study focused on healthy volunteers and patients with common structural central nervous system disorders, namely chronic infarction, brainstem cavernous hemangioma, supratentorial meningioma, and astrocytoma. Three orthogonal anisotropic diffusion-weighted images were first obtained. Three primary colors were each assigned to a diffusion-weighted image, respectively, and the images were subsequently combined into a single-color image in full-color spectrum (3DAC MR axonography image). Fiber-tract definition in the cerebral peduncle of the midbrain of healthy volunteers showed intersubject variation, with two general patterns recognized: dispersed (60% of cases) and compact (40% of cases). Pathological alterations in the fiber tracts were readily identified in cases involving wallerian degeneration of the pyramidal tract, as illustrated in the cases of chronic infarction. Displacement of major tracts, such as the medial lemniscus or corticospinal tract, as well as fiber directionality, was also easily recognized in cases of mass lesions. As an imaging method uniquely capable of providing information regarding axonal connectivity, 3DAC MR axonography appears to have promising potential for routine clinical application.

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Atsuko Harada, Yukihiko Fujii, Yuichiro Yoneoka, Shigekazu Takeuchi, Ryuichi Tanaka and Tsutomu Nakada

Object. The purpose of this study was to assess the utility of high-field magnetic resonance (MR) imaging as a quantitative tool for estimating cerebral circulation in patients with moyamoya disease.

Methods. Eighteen patients with moyamoya disease who were scheduled to undergo revascularization surgery and 100 healthy volunteers were examined using T2-reversed MR imaging performed using a 3-tesla system. Ten of the 18 patients underwent a second study between 1 year and 3 years after revascularization. Magnetic resonance images obtained in the patients with moyamoya disease were statistically analyzed and compared with those obtained in healthy volunteers. The MR imaging findings were also correlated with results of single-photon emission computerized tomography and conventional cerebral angiography studies.

Transverse lines in the white matter (medullary streaks) were observed in almost all persons. In healthy volunteers, the diameter sizes of the medullary streaks increased significantly with age (p < 0.001). Multiple logistic regression analysis revealed that age-adjusted medullary streak diameters were significantly larger in patients with moyamoya disease (p < 0.001). Diameter sizes also increased significantly with the increased severity of cerebral hypoperfusion (p < 0.001) and a higher angiographically determined stage of the disease (p < 0.001). Diameter sizes decreased significantly after surgery (p < 0.001).

Conclusions. The increases in medullary streak diameters observed in patients with moyamoya disease appear to represent vessels dilated due to cerebral hypoperfusion. High-field T2-reversed MR imaging is useful in estimating cerebral circulation in patients with moyamoya disease.

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Toru Watanabe, Yoshiho Honda, Yukihiko Fujii, Miyako Koyama, Hitoshi Matsuzawa and Ryuichi Tanaka

Object. The purpose of this study was to assess how early wallerian degeneration in the corticospinal tracts of patients who had suffered from stroke was detected using three-dimensional anisotropy contrast (3D-AC) magnetic resonance (MR) axonography and to explore the possibility of predicting the prognosis for motor function in these patients.

Methods. Ten healthy volunteers and 16 stroke patients with hemiparesis were studied using MR images including 3D-AC MR axonography images obtained using a 1.5-tesla MR imaging system. The axonography was performed using an echoplanar imaging method. All patients underwent MR studies 2, 3, and 10 weeks after stroke onset. To detect wallerian degeneration, the diffusion anisotropy in the corticospinal tracts at the level of the upper pons was evaluated on axial images. These MR findings were compared with the patients' motor functions, which were classified according to the Brunnstrom criteria 12 weeks after the onset of stroke.

In all patients with poor recovery (Brunnstrom Stages I–IV), wallerian degeneration, which was demonstrated as a reduction in diffusion anisotropy on axonography images, could be observed in the corticospinal tracts; this degeneration was not found in patients with good recovery (Stages V and VI). Axonography could be used to detect degeneration between 2 and 3 weeks after stroke onset. On conventional T2-weighted MR images, hyperintense areas indicating wallerian degeneration were not detected until 10 weeks after stroke onset.

Conclusions. With the aid of 3D-AC MR axonography, wallerian degeneration can be detected in the corticospinal tracts during the early stage of stroke (2–3 weeks after onset), much earlier than it can be detected using T2-weighted MR imaging. The procedure of 3D-AC MR axonography may be useful in predicting motor function prognosis in stroke patients.