Title

White matter integrity on fractional anisotropy maps in encephalopathic neonates post hypothermia therapy with normal-appearing MR imaging

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

6-1-2013

Journal

Pediatric Radiology

Volume

43

Issue

6

DOI

10.1007/s00247-012-2572-2

Keywords

Diffusion tensor imaging; Encephalopathy; Fractional anisotropy; Neonates

Abstract

Background: Neonatal encephalopathy (NE) is a clinically defined neurological syndrome commonly caused by ischemia. Objective: We investigated white matter integrity in children with NE using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and examined the hypothesis that white matter insults not visible on conventional MRI may have abnormal fractional anisotropy (FA) on DTI. Materials and methods: DTI was performed on 36 term encephalopathic neonates who had hypothermia therapy. Of these, 12 neonates had normal conventional MRI findings (NNE) and 24 neonates had abnormal MRI findings (ANE). Twelve term-equivalent premature neonates with normal clinical neuroimaging and neurological function served as the control group. Results: We found significant reductions in measured FA in white matter in the ANE neonates compared to the control group. There were, however, no significant differences in measured FA in white matter between the NNE and the control group. Conclusion: We did not find white matter changes detectable by DTI in encephalopathic neonates post hypothermia with normal conventional MRI findings. Further studies would be required to determine whether this unexpected finding is a direct result of neuroprotective effects of hypothermia, or more sophisticated measures of FA are required to detect subtle white matter injury. © 2012 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

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