In vivo measurement of tissue damage, oxygen saturation changes and blood flow changes after experimental traumatic brain injury in rats using susceptibility weighted imaging
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Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a prevalent disease, and many TBI patients experience disturbed cerebral blood flow (CBF) after injury. Moreover, TBI is difficult to quantify with conventional imaging modalities. In this paper, we utilized susceptibility weighted imaging (SWI) as a means to monitor functional blood oxygenation changes and to quantify CBF changes in animals after trauma. In this study using six rats, brain trauma was induced by a weight drop model and the brain was scanned over four time points: pre trauma, and 4 h, 24 h and 48 h post trauma. Five rats survived and one died after trauma. A blood phase analysis using filtered SWI phase images suggested that three rats recovered after 48 h and two rats deteriorated. SWI also suggested that CBF decreased by up to 26%. The CBF change is in agreement with the results of arterial spin labeling methods conducted in this study and with previously published results. Furthermore, SWI revealed an enlargement of the major venous vasculature in deep brain structures, in accordance with the location of diffuse axonal injury. Compared with the traditional, invasive, clinical monitoring of cerebral vascular damage and reduction in blood flow, this method offers a novel, safe and noninvasive approach to quantify changes in oxygen saturation and CBF and to visualize structural changes in blood vasculature after TBI.
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