Assess the relationship between spinal cord T2 hyperintense lesions and clinical status in multiple sclerosis (MS) with 1.5 and 3 T MRI.
Whole cord T2-weighted fast spin-echo MRI was performed in 32 MS patients [Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score (mean±SD: 2±1.9), range 0–6.5]. Protocols at 1.5 T and 3 T were optimized and matched on voxel size.
Moderate correlations were found between whole cord lesion volume and EDSS score at 1.5 T (rs=.36, p=0.04), but not at 3 T (rs=0.13, p=0.46). Pyramidal Functional System Score (FSS) correlated with thoracic T2 lesion number (rs=.46, p=0.01) and total spinal cord lesion number (rs=0.37, p=0.04) and volume (rs=0.37, p=0.04) at 1.5 T. Bowel/bladder FSS correlated with T2 lesion volume and number in the cervical, thoracic, and total spine at 1.5 T (rs 0.40–0.57, all p<0.05). These MRI–FSS correlations were non-significant at 3 T. However, these correlation coefficients did not differ significantly between platforms (Choi's test p>0.05). Correlations between whole cord lesion volume and timed 25-foot walk were non-significant at 1.5 T and 3 T (p>0.05). Lesion number and volume did not differ between MRI platforms in the MS group (p>0.05).
Despite the use of higher field MRI strength, the link between spinal lesions and MS disability remains weak. The 1.5 T and 3 T protocols yielded similar results for many comparisons.
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Published online: January 30, 2009
Accepted: November 12, 2008
Received in revised form: November 7, 2008
Received: July 16, 2008
© 2008 Elsevier B.V. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.