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J Neuroradiol. 1999 Dec;26(4):242-8.

[Diffusion MRI and cerebral ischemia. When to calculate the coefficient of diffusion?].

[Article in French]

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Service de Neuroradiologie, Groupe Hospitalier Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris, France.



There are two types of diffusion images: so-called "diffusion-weighted" images (DWI) and apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) images. For certain authors, ADC mapping is crucial for interpreting diffusion images while for others the ADC map adds no further sensitivity or specificity compared with diffusion weighted images. The objective of this work was to determine those situations where ADC mapping modifies image interpretation.


T2-weighted and diffusion-weighted (DIF) MRI sequences were acquired in 197 patients with suspected cerebral ischemia (< or = 48 hr). For each lesion (239 lesions in the 197 patients), we analyzed MRI interpretation with and without ADC mapping and compared the interpretations with the final diagnosis established on clinical data and complementary explorations.


We observed 3 groups. In group A (36% of the lesions), ADC mapping did not change image interpretation. This group was subdivided into 3 subgroups. A1: T2 and DIF weighted images are normal: no lesions and normal ACD map (n = 38 patients); A2: High intensity signal on T2 and low intensity signal on DIF: ischemic sequelae, ADC always increased (n = 32 lesions); A3: T2 normal and high intensity signal on DIF: hyper acute ischemia and ADC always decreased (n = 16 patients) In group B (high intensity signal on T2 and DIF, 54.5% of the lesions), ADC mapping changed the MRI interpretation: there was acute ischemia if the ADC was decreased (n = 113) and "pseudo-ischemic" lesions if the ADC was normal or increased (n = 17 patients). Group C was comprised of 23 lesions with a false negative ADC (9.5%). These lesions were always small recent ischemic lesions (< or = 5 mm) with a high intensity signal on DIF and a strictly normal ADC map.


ADC mapping was found to be useful in 54.5% of the lesions and should not be considered as solely a research tool but also as a useful tool for routine clinical practice.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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