The contribution of fast-FLAIR MRI for lesion detection in the brain of patients with systemic autoimmune diseases

Marco Rovaris, Matilde Inglese, Beatrice Viti, Gianfranco Ciboddo, Simonetta Gerevini, Ruggero Capra, Massimo Filippi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fast fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (fFLAIR) is more sensitive that conventional or fast spin echo T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for detecting lesions in the brain of patients with ischemic, inflammatory, or demyelinating diseases of the CNS. We investigated whether the use of fFLAIR also increases the sensitivity of brain MRI assessment in patients with systemic autoimmune disorders. Turbo spin echo (TSE) dual-echo and fFLAIR scans of the brain were obtained from patients affected by systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) with (NSLE, n = 9) and without clinical CNS involvement (n = 15), Behcet disease (n = 5), Wegener granu lomatosis (n = 9), and antiphospholipid antibody syndrome (n = 6). Brain hyperintense lesions were counted and classified according to their size and their location by two observers by consensual agreement. The total lesion volume was measured using a semiautomated technique for lesion segmentation on both TSE and fFLAIR scans. The imaging modalities showed brain hyperintense lesions in all 9 SLE patients with CNS involvement, 5 of 15 SLE patients without CNS involvement, 5 of 9 patients with Wegener granulomatosis, 1 of 5 with Behcet disease, and 3 of 6 with antiphospholipid antibody syndrome. A total of 342 lesions were seen on both sequences; 88 were seen only on TSE and 54 only on fFLAIR scans. The average number of brain lesions per scan was higher on TSE than on fFLAIR, since significantly more discrete (P <0.002) and small (P = 0.004) lesions were seen on TSE than on fFLAIR. The median total lesion volume, however, was similar on TSE and fFLAIR. Our study indicates that the use of fFLAIR does not improve the sensitivity of fast dual-echo MRI for detecting brain abnormalities in patients with systemic autoimmune disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-33
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Neurology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Brain lesions
  • Fast fluid attenuated inversion recovery
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Systemic autoimmune diseases
  • Turbo spin echo

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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