BACKGROUND: The lack of fluid-attenuated inversion-recovery (FLAIR) hyperintensity in areas of diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) high signal, or DWI-FLAIR mismatch, is a potential imaging biomarker for timing of stroke onset. We aimed to determine the effects of DWI infarct lesion volume on DWI-FLAIR mismatch and its accuracy for identification of strokes within intravenous (IV) the thrombolytic therapy window. METHODS: Acute ischemic stroke patients with magnetic resonance imaging scan within 12 hours of witnessed stroke were included. Two neuroradiologists independently reviewed DWI and FLAIR sequences for DWI-FLAIR mismatch in areas of restricted diffusion compared to the contralateral normal side. RESULTS: DWI-FLAIR mismatch was identified in 21/82 (26%) patients. Infarct lesions with DWI-FLAIR mismatch were scanned earlier (3.8 ±.3 vs. 7.5 ±.3 hours from onset, P <.001) and were smaller in size (8.9±2.3 vs. 43.1±11.9 mL, P =.007) compared to lesions without mismatch. Multivariate regression analysis showed a significant interaction between lesion volume and time-from-onset in relationship with the presence of DWI-FLAIR mismatch (P =.045). The presence of DWI-FLAIR mismatch had 56% sensitivity, 83% specificity, 48% positive predictive value (PPV), and 87% negative predictive value (NPV) for identification of infarction within 4.5 hours of symptom onset; while for infarct lesions >15 mL, the DWI-FLAIR mismatch had 100% specificity and PPV for acute infarcts within 4.5 hours of onset. CONCLUSION: The effects of stroke onset-to-scan time gap on DWI-FLAIR mismatch are not the same for different DWI lesion volumes. At DWI lesion volumes >15 mL, the DWI-FLAIR mismatch is highly specific for acute infarcts within IV thrombolytic therapy time, and can identify wake-up stroke patients eligible for treatment.
- Ischemic stroke
- diffusion-weighted imaging
- fluid-attenuated inversion recovery
- thrombolytic therapy
- wake-up stroke