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AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2008 Sep;191(3):890-5. doi: 10.2214/AJR.07.3933.

Qualitative comparison of 3-T and 1.5-T MRI in the evaluation of epilepsy.

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  • 1Division of Neuroradiology, Oregon Health & Science University, 3181 SW Sam Jackson Park Rd,, Mail Code CR 135, Portland, OR 97239, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

MRI at 3 T, which has a higher signal-to-noise ratio than 1.5-T MRI, is potentially more sensitive and specific at delineating epileptogenic lesions and may influence management of refractory epilepsy. The purposes of the current study were to compare image quality of 3-T MRI with that of 1.5-T MRI in the evaluation of epilepsy and, in cases of focal epilepsy, to compare the two field strengths in terms of lesion detection and characterization.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

Retrospective review was performed on 50 sets of MR images of 25 patients who underwent both 3-T and 1.5-T brain imaging with a dedicated epilepsy protocol, including fast spin-echo T2-weighted, coronal FLAIR, coronal fast multiplanar inversion recovery, and 3D spoiled gradient-recalled echo pulse sequences. Parameters assessed were distortion and artifact, lesion conspicuity, gray-white matter differentiation, and motion. Each pulse sequence was graded on a 4-point scale. Reviewers performed qualitative assessments of the site of abnormality and the most likely diagnosis.

RESULTS:

MRI at 3 T outperformed MRI at 1.5 T in all four parameters and was statistically superior (p < 0.05) to 1.5-T MRI in all categories except motion. On 3-T MRI, lesions were detected in 65 of 74 cases compared with 55 of 74 cases at 1.5 T (p = 0.0364), and lesions were accurately characterized in 63 of 74 cases compared with 51 of 74 cases at 1.5 T (p = 0.0194). The odds ratios showed identification of a focal epileptogenic lesion with 3-T MRI 2.57 times as likely as identification with 1.5-T MRI and accurate characterization of lesions 2.66 times as likely as characterization with 1.5-T MRI.

CONCLUSION:

In evaluation of epilepsy, MRI at 3 T performed better than 1.5-T MRI in image quality, detection of structural lesions, and characterization of lesions. High-field-strength imaging should be considered for patients with intractable epilepsy and normal or equivocal findings on 1.5-T MRI.

PMID:
18716125
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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