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Article
February 1993

Magnetic Resonance Imaging With Gadolinium Contrast Agent in Small Deep (Lacunar) Cerebral Infarcts

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Neurosurgery (Dr L. Regli), Neurology (Drs F. Regli and Bogousslavsky), and Radiology (Dr Maeder), University Hospital Lausanne, Switzerland. Dr L. Regli is currently doing a fellowship in the Cerebrovascular Research Laboratory, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Graduate School of Medicine, Rochester, Minn.

Arch Neurol. 1993;50(2):175-180. doi:10.1001/archneur.1993.00540020051017
Abstract

• Objective.  —To assess gadolinium—diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (Gd-DTPA) contrast—enhanced magnetic resonance (MR) imaging as an index of recent symptomatic small deep cerebral infarcts (SDCIs).

Design.  —Prospective case series.

Settings.  —Primary-care center.

Patients.  —Thirty-one consecutive patients presenting with the clinical diagnosis of SDCI in the territory of the perforators of the internal carotid artery or the vertebrobasilar system and confirmed by MR imaging.

Intervention.  —Rapid intravenous infusion of Gd-DTPA 5 to 10 minutes prior to acquisition of T1-weighted images.

Main Outcome Measures.  —Precise clinicotopographic correlation on MR scans.

Results.  —Non-contrast-enhanced MR imaging allowed precise clinicotopographic correlation in five (38%) of 13 patients with SDCI symptoms in the internal carotid artery territory. After Gd-DTPA administration, precise clinicotopographic correlation improved in 11 (85%) of 13 patients. In five patients, precise correlation was possible only after Gd-DTPA enhancement. Nonenhanced MR imaging allowed precise clinicotopographic correlation in 15 (83%) of 18 patients with SDCI symptoms in the vertebrobasilar territory. After Gd-DTPA administration, we could establish precise clinicotopographic correlation in all patients with SDCIs in the vertebrobasilar territory. In three patients, precise correlation was possible only after Gd-DTPA contrast enhancement. In seven (23%) of 31 patients, Gd-DTPA failed to enhance symptomatic lesion: in five patients MR scans were performed early (less than 7 days) and in two patients later in the course (greater than 7 days).

Conclusions.  —Although Gd-DTPA administration is unlikely to improve the sensitivity of MR images in visualizing SDCIs, it significantly improves the rate of precise clinicoanatomic correlation. All enhancing lesions showed precise clinicotopographic correlation. Enhancement may be absent in the acute phase (less than 7 days).

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