IF 6 Normal-Appearing White Matter Integrity Is a Predictor of Outcome After Ischemic Stroke.
Sagnier S, Catheline G, Dilharreguy B, Linck PA, Coupe P, Munsch F, Bigourdan A, Debruxelles S, Poli M, Olindo S, Renou P, Rouanet F, Dousset V, Berthoz S, Tourdias T, Sibon I
Background and Purpose- The aim of the present study was to evaluate the relationship between normal-appearing white matter (NAWM) integrity and postischemic stroke recovery in 4 main domains including cognition, mood, gait, and dependency. Methods- A prospective study was conducted, including patients diagnosed for an ischemic supratentorial stroke on a 3T brain MRI performed 24 to 72 hours after symptom onset. Clinical assessment 1 year after stroke included a Montreal Cognitive Assessment, an Isaacs set test, a Zazzo cancelation task, a Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale, a 10-meter walking test, and a modified Rankin Scale (mRS). Diffusion tensor imaging parameters in the NAWM were computed using FMRIB (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain) Diffusion Toolbox. The relationships between mean NAWM diffusion tensor imaging parameters and the clinical scores were assessed using linear and ordinal regression analyses, including the volumes of white matter hyperintensities, gray matter, and ischemic stroke as radiological covariates. Results- Two hundred seven subjects were included (66+/-13 years old; 67% men; median National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score, 3; interquartile range, 2-6). In the models including only radiological variables, NAWM fractional anisotropy was associated with the mRS and the cognitive scores. After adjusting for demographic confounders, NAWM fractional anisotropy remained a significant predictor of mRS (beta=-0.24; P=0.04). Additional path analysis showed that NAWM fractional anisotropy had a direct effect on mRS (beta=-0.241; P=0.001) and a less important indirect effect mediating white matter hyperintensity burden. Similar results were found with mean diffusivity, axial diffusivity, and radial diffusivity. In further subgroup analyses, a relationship between NAWM integrity in widespread white matter tracts, mRS, and Isaacs set test was found in right hemispheric strokes. Conclusions- NAWM diffusion tensor imaging parameters measured early after an ischemic stroke are independent predictors of functional outcome and may be additional markers to include in studies evaluating poststroke recovery.