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AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2008 Apr;190(4):976-83. doi: 10.2214/AJR.07.2407.

Hippocampal MRI signal hyperintensity after febrile status epilepticus is predictive of subsequent mesial temporal sclerosis.

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Department of Radiology, Duke University Medical Center, Box 3808, Durham, NC 27710, USA.



The objective of our study was to test the hypothesis that the finding of hyperintense hippocampal signal intensity on T2-weighted MR images soon after febrile status epilepticus is associated with subsequent hippocampal volume loss and persistent abnormal signal intensity on T2-weighted images (i.e., mesial temporal sclerosis).


Eleven children (mean age, 25 months) underwent initial MRI that included coronal temporal lobe imaging within 72 hours of febrile status epilepticus and follow-up imaging from 3 to 23 months later (mean, 9 months). A neuroradiologist blinded to clinical history graded initial and follow-up hippocampal signal intensity on a scale from 0 (normal) to 4 (markedly increased). Two blinded observers measured hippocampal volumes on initial and follow-up MR studies using commercially available software and volumes from 30 healthy children (mean age, 6.3 years). Initial signal intensity and hippocampal volume changes were compared using Kendall tau correlation coefficients.


On initial imaging, hyperintense signal intensity ranging from 1 (minimally increased) to 4 (markedly increased) was seen in seven children. Four children had at least one hippocampus with moderate or marked signal abnormality, three children had a hippocampus with mild or minimal abnormality, and four children had normal signal intensity. The Kendall tau correlation coefficient between signal intensity increase and volume change was -0.68 (p < 0.01). Five children (two with temporal lobe epilepsy and two with complex partial seizures) had hippocampal volume loss and increased signal intensity on follow-up imaging, meeting the criteria for mesial temporal sclerosis.


MRI findings of a markedly hyperintense hippocampus in children with febrile status epilepticus was highly associated with subsequent mesial temporal sclerosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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