Susceptibility-Weighted MR Imaging: A Review of Clinical Applications in Children
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Susceptibility-weighted imaging (SWI) is a high-spatial-resolution 3D gradient-echo MR imaging technique with phase postprocessing that accentuates the paramagnetic properties of blood products such as deoxyhemoglobin, intracellular methemoglobin, and hemosiderin. It is particularly useful for detecting intravascular venous deoxygenated blood as well as extravascular blood products. It is also quite sensitive to the presence of other substances such as iron, some forms of calcification, and air. We have used this technique in the past several years to study a wide variety of pediatric neurologic disorders. We present a review with selected case histories to demonstrate its clinical usefulness in the improvement of the following: 1) detection of hemorrhagic lesions seen in various conditions, including traumatic brain injury and coagulopathic or other hemorrhagic disorders; 2) detection of vascular malformations such as cavernous angiomas, telangiectasias, or pial angiomas associated with Sturge-Weber syndrome; 3) demonstration of venous thrombosis and/or increased oxygen extraction in the setting of infarction, hypoxic/anoxic injury, or brain death; 4) delineation of neoplasms with hemorrhage, calcification, or increased vascularity; and 5) depiction of calcium or iron deposition in neurodegenerative disorders. SWI has provided new understanding of some of these disease processes. It is hoped that as SWI becomes more widely available, it will provide additional diagnostic and prognostic information that will improve the care and outcome of affected children.
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