Anoxic brain injury detection with the normalized diffusion to ASL perfusion ratio: Implications for blood-brain barrier injury and permeability

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5 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Anoxic brain injury is a result of prolonged hypoxia. We sought to describe the nonquantitative arterial spin-labeling perfusion imaging patterns of anoxic brain injury, characterize the relationship of arterial spin-labeling and DWI, and evaluate the normalized diffusion-to-perfusion ratio to differentiate patients with anoxic brain injury from healthy controls. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We identified all patients diagnosed with anoxic brain injuries from 2002 to 2019. Twelve ROIs were drawn on arterial spin-labeling with coordinate-matched ROIs identified on DWI. Linear regression analysis was performed to examine the relationship between arterial spin-labeling perfusion and diffusion signal. Normalized diffusion-to-perfusion maps were generated using a custom-built algorithm. RESULTS: Thirty-five patients with anoxic brain injuries and 34 healthy controls were identified. Linear regression analysis demonstrated a significant positive correlation between arterial spin-labeling and DWI signal. By means of a combinatory cutoff of slope of.0 and R2 of. 0.78, linear regression using arterial spin-labeling and DWI showed a sensitivity of 0.86 (95% CI, 0.71-0.94) and specificity of 0.82 (95% CI, 0.66-0.92) for anoxic brain injuries. A normalized diffusion-to-perfusion color map demonstrated heterogeneous ratios throughout the brain in healthy controls and homogeneous ratios in patients with anoxic brain injuries. CONCLUSIONS: In anoxic brain injuries, a homogeneously positive correlation between qualitative perfusion and DWI signal was identified so that areas of increased diffusion signal showed increased ASL signal. By exploiting this relationship, the normalized diffusion-to-perfusion ratio color map may be a valuable imaging biomarker for diagnosing anoxic brain injury and potentially assessing BBB integrity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)598-606
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology


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