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Stroke. 2004 Apr;35(4):888-92. Epub 2004 Feb 19.

Diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging and neurobiochemical markers after aortic valve replacement: implications for future neuroprotective trials?

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Department of Neurology, Justus Liebig University, Giessen, Germany.



Cardiac surgery carries a high risk of neurological complications; therefore, these patients would be an appropriate target population for neuroprotective strategies. In this study, we evaluated postoperative diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) as a potential surrogate marker for brain embolism and its relationship to neurobiochemical markers of brain injury.


Of a total of 45 consecutive patients undergoing aortic valve replacement, 37 completed preoperative and postoperative MRI. At the time of the MRI studies, serum S100beta and neuron-specific enolase concentrations were determined. Preexisting T2 and postoperative DWI lesion volumes were quantified. All patients had a blinded neurological examination before and after operation.


New perioperative DWI lesions were present in 14 patients (38%), of whom only 3 developed focal neurological deficits. Eighteen small lesions were found in the white matter or vascular border zones in all but 2 patients with territorial stroke. The appearance of new DWI lesions correlated with age, pre-existing T2 lesion volume, and postoperative S100beta concentrations on days 2 to 4 after surgery. In a forward stepwise canonical discrimination model, only T2 lesion volume was selected as a relevant variable.


The incidence of postoperative DWI lesions in aortic valve replacement is high, and a suitable marker for neuroprotective trials would be a reduction in the number of such lesions. The volume of preexisting T2 lesions is related to the development of perioperative DWI lesions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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