Lack of correlation between extracranial venous abnormalities and multiple sclerosis: A quantitative MRI study

Sirio Cocozza, Antonietta Canna, Roberta Lanzillo, Carmela Russo, Emanuela Postiglione, Raffaele Liuzzi, Michele Vastola, Arturo Brunetti, Marco Salvatore, Vincenzo Brescia Morra, Giuseppe Palma, Enrico Tedeschi

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Objective: We aimed to evaluate the presence of venous stenosis and blood flow abnormalities in the neck vessels of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), in respect to a group of age- and sex-matched healthy controls (HC), and their possible relations with clinical variables using a semi-automated quantitative MRI method. Methods: 45 patients with relapsing remitting MS and 40 HC were enrolled in this study. Flow rates and crosssectional areas of arterial and venous neck vessels were assessed by phase-contrast MRI at two different neck levels (C2-C3 and C6-C7), and differences between groups were evaluated with an unpaired t-test. Correlation between blood flow variables and clinical parameters was analyzed with Spearman's test. Results: A significant internal jugular vein (IJV) stenosis was found in 23/45 (51.1%) patients with MS and 18/40 (45.0%) HC. No differences were observed between patients with MS and HC for any of the flow measures obtained. No correlations were found between MRI measures and any of the tested clinical variables. Conclusion: No differences in the IJV area emerged at quantitative MRI evaluation, suggesting that stenosis of the extracranial veins is unrelated to MS. Furthermore, no flow differences in the neck vessels were found between patients with MS and HC in any of the tested flow measures, with no correlation with clinical variables. Our results confirm that the hypothesis of the presence of extracranial venous abnormalities in MS, both in terms of stenosis or flow measures, is not suitable. Advances in knowledge: Neck venous drainage abnormalities have been claimed to be associated with MS. Conversely, our quantitative MRI analysis seems to exclude that extracranial venous alterations are related to the disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20160321
JournalBritish Journal of Radiology
Issue number1064
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

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© 2016 The Authors.


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