BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Hypointense lesions can be visible on fast fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) MR images of the brain of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), and they may be produced by severely damaged white matter. To test the role of these lesions as an MR marker of MS severity, we assessed their relationship with clinical findings and other MR measures. METHODS: Using a 1.5-T scanner, dual-echo rapid acquisition with relaxation enhancement, fast FLAIR, and T1-weighted MR images (24 axial, 5- mm-thick contiguous interleaved sections) were obtained from 50 patients (32 with relapsing-remitting and 18 with secondary progressive MS). RESULTS: Hypointense lesions were visible on the fast FLAIR images of 19 patients (mean number of lesions, 7.8; range 1-22); their median load was 1.4 mL (range, 0.05-12.6 mL). The median lesion load was significantly higher in patients with secondary progressive MS than in those with relapsing-remitting MS on the T1-weighted images. Both the number and the load of hypointense lesions shown by fast FLAIR imaging were significantly higher in patients with secondary progressive MS. Significant correlations were found between Expanded Disability Status Scale scores and MR lesion load. A multivariate analysis showed that only the presence of hypointense lesions on fast FLAIR images significantly separated cases of relapsing-remitting MS from cases of secondary progressive MS (relative risk, 7.1; 95% confidence interval. 2.025.9). CONCLUSION: The presence of hypointense lesions on fast FLAIR images was a strong predictor of disease severity in cases of MS, although the low sensitivity of this approach might limit its use for the assessment of MS evolution.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||American Journal of Neuroradiology|
|Publication status||Published - 1999|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology