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LL Chan, JBK Khoo, CH Thng, WEH Lim, KH Tay, EK Tan, HM Chang, C Chen, MC Wong, KP Tan
Correspondence: Dr L L Chan, email@example.com
Cerebrovascular accident (CVA) is a leading cause of death and disability in many countries. Diffusion-weighted (DW) magnetic resonance (MR) imaging has been reported to be useful in the detection of acute strokes and as an investigative tool evaluating the therapeutic effects of neuroprotective and thrombolytic agents. The objectives of this study are to share our experience using the commercially available isotropic DW scan in imaging of acute stroke, assess its usefulness over conventional T2-weighted (T2W) scans in a busy clinical radiology unit and highlight it pitfalls. We found the rapid sub-minute DW technique well suited for ill and restless stroke patients and superior to T2W scans in many ways. It was highly sensitive to acute ischaemic lesions, made lesions easily identifiable and readily differentiated the acute lesion from a background of multiple chronic infarcts. However, there are potential pitfalls in the evaluation of small hyperacute posterior fossa strokes and venous infarcts. The major strength of this MR technique lies in its ability to diagnose hyperacute strokes and thence the potential for therapeutic thrombolysis, but unfortunately patients qualifying for the "therapeutic window" were a minority. More efforts need to be focused on public education in order for this powerful imaging modality to find its true value and contribute to viability of an effective thrombolytic programme.
Keywords: acute stroke, diffusion-weighted MR, T2-weighted MR, strengths, pitfalls
Singapore Med J 2002; 43(3): 118-123