The 130 patients in the study included 77 men and 53 women with a mean age 64.7. Of those, 63 patients underwent MRI within three hours of stroke onset and 67 were imaged between three and 12 hours after stroke onset.
The radiologists analyzed three different types of MRI data on the patients:
Using the MRI data alone, the radiologists could predict with greater than 90% accuracy which patients had experienced stroke symptoms for longer than three hours.
"When the time of stroke onset is unknown, MRI could help identify patients who are highly likely to be within the three-hour time window when tPA is proven effective and approved for use," Oppenheim says. Adding that using MRI to determine the duration of a stroke would change the way stroke is managed in the emergency setting.
"With the use of MRI, all stroke patients could be managed urgently, not just those patients with a known onset of symptoms," she adds.
Oppenheim says clinical trials are needed to validate the use of MRI as a surrogate marker of stroke duration.
Creating Stroke Systems of Care