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Open Access Research article

Diffusion tensor imaging correlates with lesion volume in cerebral hemisphere infarctions

Maija E Rossi1*, Eeva Jason12, Silvia Marchesotti13, Prasun Dastidar12, Jyrki Ollikainen4 and Seppo Soimakallio12

Author Affiliations

1 Medical Imaging Centre, Department of Radiology, Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland

2 Tampere Medical School, Tampere, Finland

3 University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy

4 Clinics of Neurology and Rehabilitation, Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland

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BMC Medical Imaging 2010, 10:21  doi:10.1186/1471-2342-10-21

Published: 17 September 2010



Both a large lesion volume and abnormalities in diffusion tensor imaging are independently associated with a poor prognosis after cerebral infarctions. Therefore, we assume that they are associated. This study assessed the associations between lesion volumes and diffusion tensor imaging in patients with a right-sided cerebral infarction.


The lesion volumes of 33 patients (age 65.9 ± 8.7, 26 males and 7 females) were imaged using computed tomography (CT) in the acute phase (within 3-4 hours) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the chronic phase (follow-up at 12 months, with a range of 8-27 months). The chronic-phase fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD) values were measured at the site of the infarct and selected white matter tracts. Neurological tests in both the acute and chronic phases, and DTI lateralization were assessed with the Wilcoxon signed-rank test. The effects of thrombolytic therapy (n = 10) were assessed with the Mann-Whitney U test. The correlations between the measured parameters were analysed with Spearman's rho correlation. Bonferroni post-hoc correction was used to compensate for the familywise error rate in multiple comparisons.


Several MD values in the right hemisphere correlated positively and FA values negatively with the lesion volumes. These correlations included both lesion area and healthy tissue. The results of the mini-mental state examination and the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale also correlated with the lesion volume.


A larger infarct volume is associated with more pronounced tissue modifications in the chronic stage as observed with the MD and FA alterations.