Utility of intracranial high-resolution vessel wall magnetic resonance imaging in differentiating intracranial vasculopathic diseases causing ischemic stroke.


Comprehensive Stroke Care Program, Department of Neurology, Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST), Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, 695011, India. [Email]


OBJECTIVE : High-resolution vessel wall imaging (HRVWI) by MRI is a novel noninvasive imaging tool which provides direct information regarding vessel wall pathologies. The utility of HRVWI in differentiating various intracranial vasculopathies among ischemic stroke is still evolving.
METHODS : Consecutive ischemic stroke/TIA patients within 2 weeks of symptom onset between January 2016 to December 2017, with symptomatic vessel stenosis of 50% or more/occlusion on baseline luminal imaging studies were recruited into the study. Stroke subtypes were classified as per TOAST classification initially on the basis of luminal imaging findings alone and subsequently after incorporation of HRVWI findings as well.
RESULTS : Forty-nine subjects were recruited into the study. The median age of the population was 42 years (range 11 to 75) with 69% being males. Incorporation of HRVWI findings classified 38.8% subjects into intracranial atherosclerotic disease (ICAD), 32.6% as stroke of other determined aetiology (ODE) (inflammatory vasculopathy [IVas] being the major subgroup [81.2%]) and 28.6% into stroke of undetermined aetiology (UE). HRVWI enabled a diagnostic reclassification in an additional 47.3% among the baseline UE category as against luminal imaging findings alone. ICAD was likelier to have eccentric vessel wall thickening, eccentric vessel wall enhancement and T2 juxtaluminal hyperintensity with surrounding hypointensity (P < 0.001), while IVas were more likely to exhibit concentric vessel wall thickening with homogenous enhancement (P < 0.001).
CONCLUSIONS : HRVWI is a useful noninvasive adjunctive tool in the diagnostic evaluation of intracranial vasculopathies, with maximum benefit in ICAD and IVas subtypes.


Inflammatory vasculopathies,Intracranial atherosclerotic disease,MR vessel wall imaging,