Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be as accurate as computed tomography (CT) in detecting acute bleeding in the brain in patients showing signs of stroke, and more accurate than CT in revealing chronic bleeding in the brain, according to a study in the October 20 issue of JAMA.
Noncontrast computed tomography (CT) has been the standard brain imaging technique used for the initial evaluation of patients with acute stroke symptoms, greatly due to its capacity to rule out the presence of hemorrhage (bleeding), according to background information in the article. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has been suggested as an alternative to CT in an emergency department setting because of its ability to outline the presence, size, location and extent of hyperacute ischemia (blocked blood vessel).
Chelsea S. Kidwell, M.D., from the UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles, and colleagues examined MRIs and CT scans in 200 patients showing signs of stroke, in order to compare their accuracy in detecting acute bleeding in the brain. The Hemorrhage and Early MRI Evaluation (HEME) study was performed at the UCLA Medical Center and the Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Md., between October 2000 and February 2003. The average age of patients was 75 years; fifty-five percent of study participants were women. MRI and CT scans were performed within six hours of the patients onset of stroke symptoms.
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