Interpretation of the extent of perfusion deficits in stroke MRI is highly dependent on the method used for analyzing the perfusion-weighted signal intensity time-series after gadolinium injection. In this study, we introduce a new model-free standardized method of temporal similarity perfusion (TSP) mapping for perfusion deficit detection and test its ability and reliability in acute ischemia.
Forty patients with an ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack were included. Two blinded readers compared real-time generated interactive maps and automatically generated TSP maps to traditional TTP/MTT maps for presence of perfusion deficits. Lesion volumes were compared for volumetric inter-rater reliability, spatial concordance between perfusion deficits and healthy tissue and contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR).
Perfusion deficits were correctly detected in all patients with acute ischemia. Inter-rater reliability was higher for TSP when compared to TTP/MTT maps and there was a high similarity between the lesion volumes depicted on TSP and TTP/MTT (r( 18) = 0.73). The Pearson's correlation between lesions calculated on TSP and traditional maps was high (r( 18) = 0.73, p<0.0003), however the effective CNR was greater for TSP compared to TTP (352.3 vs 283.5, t(19) = 2.6, p<0.03.) and MTT (228.3, t(19) = 2.8, p<0.03).
TSP maps provide a reliable and robust model-free method for accurate perfusion deficit detection and improve lesion delineation compared to traditional methods. This simple method is also computationally faster and more easily automated than model-based methods. This method can potentially improve the speed and accuracy in perfusion deficit detection for acute stroke treatment and clinical trial inclusion decision-making.