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Neuroradiology. 2007 Mar;49(3):271-9. Epub 2007 Jan 4.

Prediction of recovery from a post-traumatic coma state by diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) in patients with diffuse axonal injury.

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Department of Radiology, Second Hospital, Shantou University Medical College, Shantou, 515041, Guangdong, China.



To determine whether diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance (MR) imaging findings combined with initial clinical factors indicate the depth of shearing lesions in the brain structure and therefore relate to coma duration in diffuse axonal injury (DAI).


A total of 74 adult patients (48 male and 26 female) with DAI were examined with conventional MR imaging and diffusion-weighted MR imaging between 2 hours and 20 days after injury. Apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) maps were obtained and the mean ADC values of each region of interest (ROI) were measured using MRI console software. The involvement of the brainstem, deep gray matter, and corpus callosum was determined for each sequence separately as well as for the combination of all sequences. The correlations between MR imaging findings indicating the presence of apparent brain injury combined with initial clinical factors were determined.


Clinical characteristics, such as initial score on the Glasgow coma scale (GCS), age and number of all lesions, and ADC scores were predictive of the duration of coma.


It was possible to predict post-traumatic coma duration in DAI from cerebral MR imaging findings combined with clinical prognostic factors in the acute to subacute stage after head injury. Age, ADC scores, GCS score and number of lesions were highly significant in predicting coma duration. The technique presented here might provide a tool for in vivo detection of DAI to allow the prediction of the coma duration during the early stages in patients with traumatic brain injury.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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