Background and purpose: Although isotropic diffusion-weighted imaging (isoDWI) is very sensitive to the detection of acute ischemic stroke, it may occasionally show diffusion negative result in hyper-acute stroke. We hypothesize that high diffusion contrast diffusion trace-weighted image with enhanced T2 may improve stroke lesion conspicuity. Methods: Five hyper acute stroke patients (M:F = 0:5, average age = 61.8 ± 20.5 y/o) and 16 acute stroke patients (M:F = 11:5, average age = 67.7 ± 12 y/o) were examined six-direction tensor DWIs at b = 707 s/mm2. Three different diffusion-weighted images, including isotropic (isoDWI), diffusion trace-weighted image (trDWI) and T2-enhanced diffusion trace-weighted image (T2E_trDWI), were generated. Normalized lesion-to-normal ratio (nLNR) and contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) of three diffusion images were calculated from each patient and statistically compared. Results: The trDWI shows better nLNR than isoDWI on both hyper-acute and acute stroke lesions, whereas no significant improvement in CNR. Nevertheless, the T2E_trDWI has statistically superior CNR and nLNR than those of isoDWI and trDWI in both hyper-acute and acute stroke. Conclusions: We concluded that tensor diffusion trace-weighted image with T2 enhancement is more sensitive to stroke lesion detection, and can provide higher lesion conspicuity than the conventional isotropic DWI for early stroke lesion delineation without the need of high-b-value technique.
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