J Neuroimaging 2017 11 17;27(6):570-576. Epub 2017 May 17.
Department of Radiology, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL.
Background And Purpose: Intra-arterial recanalization postprocedural imaging in stroke patients can result in diagnostic complications due to hyperdensities on noncontrast computed tomography (CT), which may represent either contrast extravasation or intracranial hemorrhage. If these lesions are hemorrhage, then they are risk factors becoming symptomatic, which, if not distinguished, can alter clinical management. We investigate the effects of iodinated contrast on postprocedural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and prevalence of equivocal imaging interpretations of postprocedural extravasated contrast versus hemorrhage while identifying protocol pitfalls.
Methods: We identified 10 patients diagnosed with ischemic stroke who underwent intra-arterial recanalization in a 5-year period. These patients demonstrated a hyperdensity on a postprocedural CT within 24 hours, underwent an MRI within 48 hours, and an additional confirmatory noncontrast CT at least 72 hours postprocedure.
Results: Postprocedural MRI in all 10 stroke patients demonstrated T - and T -relaxation time changes due to residual iodine contrast agents. This lead to false positive postprocedural hemorrhage MRI interpretations in 2/10 patients, 3/10 false negative interpretations of contrast extravasation, and 5/10 equivocal interpretations suggesting extravasation or hemorrhage. Of these five cases, two were performed with gadolinium.
Conclusion: MRI done within 48 hours postprocedure can lead to false positive hemorrhage or false negative contrast extravasation interpretations in stroke patients possibly due to effects from the administered angiographic contrast. Additionally, MRI should be done both after 72 hours for confirmation and without gadolinium contrast as the effects of the gadolinium contrast and residual angiographic contrast could lead to misdiagnosis.