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American Journal of Neuroradiology

Year: 2009  |  Volume: 30  |  Issue: 6  |  Page No.: 1248 - 1255

White Matter Damage in Carbon Monoxide Intoxication Assessed in Vivo Using Diffusion Tensor MR Imaging

W. C Lin, C. H Lu, Y. C Lee, H. C Wang, C. C Lui, Y. F Cheng, H. W Chang, Y. T Shih and C. P. Lin


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: White matter (WM) injury in carbon monoxide (CO) intoxication is thought to be related to delayed cognitive sequelae. To determine if microstructural changes in WM are responsible for the delayed onset of cognitive symptoms, we performed diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in patients with CO intoxication.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: DTI was performed in 14 patients with delayed sequelae after CO intoxication and in 16 sex- and age-matched healthy volunteers. The fractional anisotropy (FA) and apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) of several WM regions were measured. We also determined the correlation between FA of the selected WM and neuropsychological rating scores for the CO intoxication group.

RESULTS: FA of patients with CO intoxication decreased in the corpus callosum, orbitofrontal WM, high frontal WM, parietal WM, and temporal lobes in comparison with the corresponding regions of healthy controls. FA of the WM in the occipital lobe and internal capsule of patients was not significantly different from that in controls. ADCs of all measured WM increased significantly in patients exposed to CO. High correlations were found between the FA of all selected WM and the Mini-Mental State Examination score ( = 0.631, P = .016) and the digit span backward task ( = 0.759, P = .001).

CONCLUSIONS: CO intoxication may cause FA decline in associated cortical areas. This observation indicates microstructural WM pathology in CO intoxication, which is related to delayed cognitive encephalopathy.

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