Spatial coefficient of variation of arterial spin labeling MRI as a cerebrovascular correlate of carotid occlusive disease

Henri J. M. M. Mutsaerts, Jan Petr, Reinoud P. H. Bokkers, Ronald M. Lazar, Randolph S. Marshall, Iris Asllani

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Clinical interpretation of arterial spin labeling (ASL) perfusion MRI in cerebrovascular disease remains challenging mainly because of the method’s sensitivity to concomitant contributions from both intravascular and tissue compartments. While acquisition of multi-delay images can differentiate between the two contributions, the prolonged acquisition is prone to artifacts and not practical for clinical applications. Here, the utility of the spatial coefficient of variation (sCoV) of a single-delay ASL image as a marker of the intravascular contribution was evaluated by testing the hypothesis that sCoV can detect the effects of differences in label arrival times between ipsi- and contra-lateral hemispheres even in the absence of a hemispheric difference in CBF. Hemispheric lateralization values for sCoV and CBF were computed from ASL images acquired on 28 patients (age 73.9 ± 10.2 years, 8 women) with asymptomatic unilateral carotid occlusion. The results showed that sCoV lateralization predicted the occluded side with 96.4% sensitivity, missing only 1 patient. In contrast, the sensitivity of the CBF lateralization was 71.4%, with 8 patients showing no difference in CBF between hemispheres. The findings demonstrate the potential clinical utility of sCoV as a cerebrovascular correlate of large vessel disease. Using sCoV in tandem with CBF, vascular information can be obtained in image processing without the need for additional scan-time.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0229444
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020

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