Evaluation of Focal Cervical Spinal Cord Lesions in Multiple Sclerosis: Comparison of White Matter–Suppressed T1 Inversion Recovery Sequence versus Conventional STIR and Proton Density–Weighted Turbo Spin-Echo Sequences

Fellows’ Journal Club

The authors performed a retrospective blinded analysis of cervical cord MR imaging examinations of 50 patients with MS. In each patient, 2 neuroradiologists measured the number of focal lesions and overall lesion conspicuity in the STIR/proton density–weighted TSE and WM-suppressed T1 inversion recovery sequence groups. Substantial interreader agreement was noted on the WM-suppressed T1 inversion recovery sequence compared with STIR/proton density–weighted TSE. Average lesion conspicuity was better on the WM-suppressed T1 inversion recovery sequence. Additionally, spurious lesions were more common on STIR/proton density–weighted TSE than on the WM-suppressed T1 inversion recovery sequence. They conclude that the WM-suppressed T1 inversion recovery sequence could potentially be substituted for either STIR or proton density–weighted TSE sequences in routine clinical protocols.

Abstract

Figure 2 from paper
Example of improved lesion conspicuity in a 45-year-old woman with a relapsing-remitting subtype of multiple sclerosis. Sagittal STIR (A) and PDWTSE (B) images show a focal lesion in the dorsum of the cord at the lower C2 level (arrow). Anterior to this lesion, there is linear hyperintensity in the center of the cord usually noted on the STIR/PDWTSE sequence group (arrowhead). The central canal is more homogeneous in signal intensity on sagittal WMS image (C); this feature improves the definition of the superior margin of the dorsal lesion. An additional focal lesion is noted in the ventral cord at the upper C2 level (open arrow), better identified on the WMS sequence (C).

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE

Conventional MR imaging of the cervical spinal cord in MS is challenged by numerous artifacts and interreader variability in lesion counts. This study compares the relatively novel WM-suppressed T1 inversion recovery sequence with STIR and proton density–weighted TSE sequences in the evaluation of cervical cord lesions in patients with MS.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

Retrospective blinded analysis of cervical cord MR imaging examinations of 50 patients with MS was performed by 2 neuroradiologists. In each patient, the number of focal lesions and overall lesion conspicuity were measured in the STIR/proton density–weighted TSE and WM-suppressed T1 inversion recovery sequence groups. Independent side-by-side comparison was performed to categorize the discrepant lesions as either “definite” or “spurious.” Lesion contrast ratio and edge sharpness were independently calculated in each sequence.

RESULTS

Substantial interreader agreement was noted on the WM-suppressed T1 inversion recovery sequence (κ = 0.82) compared with STIR/proton density–weighted TSE (κ = 0.52). Average lesion conspicuity was better on the WM-suppressed T1 inversion recovery sequence (conspicuity of 3.1/5.0 versus 3.7/5.0, P < .01, in the WM-suppressed T1 inversion recovery sequence versus STIR/proton density–weighted TSE, respectively). Spurious lesions were more common on STIR/proton density–weighted TSE than on the WM-suppressed T1 inversion recovery sequence (23 and 30 versus 3 and 4 by readers 1 and 2, respectively; P < .01). More “definite” lesions were missed on STIR/proton density–weighted TSE compared with the WM-suppressed T1 inversion recovery sequence (37 and 38 versus 3 and 6 by readers 1 and 2, respectively). Lesion contrast ratio and edge sharpness were highest on the WM-suppressed T1 inversion recovery sequence.

CONCLUSIONS

There is better interreader consistency in the lesion count on the WM-suppressed T1 inversion recovery sequence compared with STIR/proton density–weighted TSE sequences. The focal cord lesions are visualized with better conspicuity due to better contrast ratio and edge sharpness. There are fewer spurious lesions on the WM-suppressed T1 inversion recovery sequence compared with STIR/proton density–weighted TSE. The WM-suppressed T1 inversion recovery sequence could potentially be substituted for either STIR or proton density–weighted TSE sequences in routine clinical protocols.

 

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Evaluation of Focal Cervical Spinal Cord Lesions in Multiple Sclerosis: Comparison of White Matter–Suppressed T1 Inversion Recovery Sequence versus Conventional STIR and Proton Density–Weighted Turbo Spin-Echo Sequences
jross
Jeffrey Ross • Mayo Clinic, Phoenix

Dr. Jeffrey S. Ross is a Professor of Radiology at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, and practices neuroradiology at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona. His publications include over 100 peer-reviewed articles, nearly 60 non-refereed articles, 33 book chapters, and 10 books. He was an AJNR Senior Editor from 2006-2015, is a member of the editorial board for 3 other journals, and a manuscript reviewer for 10 journals. He became Editor-in-Chief of the AJNR in July 2015. He received the Gold Medal Award from the ASSR in 2013.