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A quantitative method to assess muscle edema using short TI inversion recovery MRI

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Muscle inflammation is an important component of disease pathophysiology in several muscular dystrophies. Hyperintensities on MRI sequences with short TI inversion recovery (STIR) reflect edema, or inflammation (STIR+). Conventionally, STIR evaluation has been done by visual inspection. In this study, we developed a quantitative STIR method, and tested its ability to identify STIR+ lesions in healthy controls and patients with Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy and compared the results with visual STIR evaluation and quantitative T2 relaxation time mapping. The method was based on pixel-by-pixel histograms of the distribution of signal intensities from muscles. Signal intensities from healthy control muscles were averaged and used to define an upper reference limit. Muscles with >2.5% pixels above the limit were defined as being STIR+. The new method showed agreement with T2 relaxation time mapping in 95% of muscles. The visual STIR method only showed agreement with the quantitative STIR method and T2 relaxation time mapping in 88 and 84%, respectively. STIR sequences are available on most MR scanners and the post-processing used in the new quantitative method can be performed using free software. We therefore believe that the new method can play an important role in identifying STIR+ lesions in patients with neuromuscular diseases.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScientific Reports
Volume10
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)7246
ISSN2045-2322
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2020

ID: 61074789