Diagnosis and temporal evolution of signs of intracranial hypotension on MRI of the brain.

Research paper by R R Forghani, R I RI Farb

Indexed on: 17 Sep '08Published on: 17 Sep '08Published in: Neuroradiology


A comprehensive evaluation of cranial magnetic resonance imagings (MRIs) of 23 patients with intracranial hypotension (IH) was performed, and the evolution of the abnormalities on follow-up MRIs was correlated with the clinical outcome.The MRI report database at the University Health Network in Toronto was searched, and 23 cases of IH were identified between 2001 and 2007. A retrospective review of the MRIs of the brain and the electronic patient chart was performed. A control group of 40 subjects was also selected to complement the analysis of the pituitary gland.A positive venous distention sign (VDS) was observed in 23 out of 23 patients and was the first sign to disappear on early follow-up scans following successful treatment. Pachymeningeal enhancement was seen in 23 out of 23 patients, and pachymeningeal thickening was detectable on unenhanced fluid attenuation inversion recovery (FLAIR) sequences in 17 out of 23 patients (74%). An increase in pituitary size in IH was also demonstrated based on the measured pituitary height and was qualitatively detectable in 12 out of 21 (57%) patients as the protrusion of the pituitary gland above the sella turica (two postpartum patients were excluded from this analysis). Overall, there was good correlation between the imaging findings and clinical outcome following treatment.Accurate diagnosis and follow-up of IH should be possible is some patients on unenhanced MRI of the brain by combining the signs on FLAIR and sagittal T1W images, enabling timely diagnosis in unsuspected cases and avoiding unnecessary administration of gadolinium compounds. In addition, VDS might be useful for early assessment of response to treatment.