Comparison of three MR sequences for the detection of cervical cord lesions in patients with multiple sclerosis

Maria A. Rocca, Giovanna Mastronardo, Mark A. Horsfield, Clodoaldo Pereira, Giuseppe Iannucci, Bruno Colombo, Lucia Moiola, Giancarlo Comi, Massimo Filippi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Improving the sensitivity of MR imaging for the detection of multiple sclerosis (MS) lesions in the cord might be useful in the diagnostic workup and could lead to a better understanding of the evolution of the disease. The purpose of this study was to compare fast spin- echo (FSE) with magnetization transfer-prepared gradient-echo (MT-GE) and fast short-inversion-time inversion recovery (fast-STIR) MR sequences to determine which is best for imaging cervical cord lesions in MS patients. METHODS: FSE, MT-GE, and fast-STIR MR images were obtained in 56 MS patients and 10 healthy control subjects with a 1.5-T MR system and a phased-array coil. Cord lesions seen on images obtained with each sequence were counted by two observers in two stages (stage 1: random review of the complete sets of images from each technique; stage 2: side-by-side review with a retrospective count of lesions). RESULTS: At the end of stage 1, a mean of 1.16 cord lesions per patient were seen on FSE images, 1.57 on MT-GE images (35% more than on FSE), and 1.92 on fast-STIR images (66% more than on FSE). Two or more cervical cord lesions were found on 16 FSE images (29%), 23 on MT-GE images (46%), and 30 on fast-STIR images (54%). Differences were reduced after stage 2: MT-GE detected 22% more lesions and fast-STIR 36% more lesions than FSE. Considering the three sequences together, 113 cervical cord lesions were seen in 50 patients (89%). CONCLUSION: Both MT-GE and fast-STIR sequences depict more cervical cord MS lesions than the FSE sequence, with fast-STIR having the best sensitivity. Fast-STIR MR images may be useful for the diagnostic workup of patients with suspected MS and for improving our understanding of the evolution of MS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1710-1716
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Volume20
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology

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