Arterial Spin Labeling Magnetic Resonance Imaging for Differentiating Acute Ischemic Stroke from Epileptic Disorders

Yuka Kanazawa, Shuji Arakawa, Takafumi Shimogawa, Noriko Hagiwara, Sei Haga, Takato Morioka, Hiroaki Ooboshi, Tetsuro Ago, Takanari Kitazono

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Differential diagnosis between acute ischemic stroke (AIS) and epilepsy-related stroke mimics is sometimes difficult in the emergency department. We investigated whether a combination of diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) and arterial spin labeling imaging (ASL) is useful in distinguishing AIS from epileptic disorders. Methods: The study included suspected AIS patients who underwent emergency MRI including both DWI and ASL, and who exhibited DWI high-intensity lesions corresponding to neurological symptoms. We investigated the relationship between the ASL results from within and/or around DWI lesions and the final clinical diagnosis. Results: Eighty-five cases were included (mean age, 71 ± 13 years; 47 men). The time from onset to the MRI examination was 493 ± 536 minutes. ASL showed hyperintensity in 13 patients, isointensity in 43, and hypointensity in 29. All ASL hyperintensities were observed in the cortex, with 4 patients (31%) presenting with AIS and 9 (69%) with an epileptic disorder. All of the AIS patients with ASL hyperintensity were diagnosed with cardioembolic stroke (4/4, 100%), with magnetic resonance angiography demonstrating recanalization of the occluded artery in all cases (4/4, 100%). In the 9 patients with an epileptic disorder, the area of ASL hyperintensity typically extended beyond the vascular territory (7/9, 78%) and involved the ipsilateral thalamus (7/9, 78%). All patients with ASL isointensity and hypointensity were diagnosed with AIS; none had epileptic disorders. Conclusions: Although cortical ASL hyperintensity can indicate cardioembolic stroke with recanalization, hyperintensity beyond the vascular territory may alternatively suggest an epileptic disorder in suspected AIS patients with DWI lesions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1684-1690
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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