Tissue-negative transient ischemic attack: Is there a role for perfusion MRI?

Raymond W. Grams, Stella Kidwell, Amish H. Doshi, Kendra W Drake, Jennifer Becker, Bruce M Coull, Kambiz Nael

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE. Approximately 60% of patients with a clinical transient ischemic attack (TIA) do not have DWI evidence of cerebral ischemia. The purpose of this study was to assess the added diagnostic value of perfusion MRI in the evaluation of patients with TIA who have normal DWI findings. MATERIALS AND METHODS. The inclusion criteria for this retrospective study were clinical presentation of TIA at admission with a discharge diagnosis of TIA confirmed by a stroke neurologist, MRI including both DWI and perfusion-weighted imaging within 48 hours of symptom onset, and no DWI lesion. Cerebral blood flow (CBF) and time to maximum of the residue function (Tmax) maps were evaluated independently by two observers. Multivariate analysis was used to assess perfusion findings; clinical variables; age, blood pressure, clinical symptoms, diabetes (ABCD2) score; duration of TIA; and time between MRI and onset and resolution of symptoms. RESULTS. Fifty-two patients (33 women, 19 men; age range, 2095 years) met the inclusion criteria. A regional perfusion abnormality was identified on either Tmax or CBF maps of 12 of 52 (23%) patients. Seven (58%) of the patients with perfusion abnormalities had hypoperfused lesions best detected on Tmax maps; the other five had hyperperfusion best detected on CBF maps. In 11 of 12 (92%) patients with abnormal perfusion MRI findings, the regional perfusion deficit correlated with the initial neurologic deficits. Multivariable analysis revealed no significant difference in demographics, ABCD2 scores, or presentation characteristics between patients with and those without perfusion abnormalities. CONCLUSION. Perfusion MRI that includes Tmax and CBF parametric maps adds diagnostic value by depicting regions with delayed perfusion or postischemic hyperperfusion in approximately one-fourth of TIA patients who have normal DWI findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-162
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2016


  • MRI
  • Perfusion MRI
  • Stroke
  • TIA
  • Transient ischemic attack

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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