Computing diffusion rates in T2-dark hematomas and areas of low T2 signal

Joseph A Maldjian, J. Listerud, G. Moonis, F. Siddiqi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: It has been suggested that restricted diffusion is present within hematomas with intact red cell membranes; however, computing apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values in areas of low T2 signal can be problematic. Our purpose was to show the pitfalls of measuring diffusion within hematomas with intracellular blood products and to present a framework based on the properties of expected values for computing ADC values from regions with signal intensities close to that of the background noise (ie, T2-dark hematomas). METHODS: Twelve patients with intracranial hematomas who had undergone diffusion imaging were retrospectively identified during a 2-year period (four intracellular oxyhemoglobin, seven intracellular deoxyhemoglobin, one intracellular methemoglobin). Regions of interest were drawn on the hematomas, the contralateral white matter, and over the background. ADC values were computed using a variety of methods: 1) using expected values incorporating the variance of the background, 2) computing the mean of the regions of interest before taking the natural log, 3) masking negative values, and 4) masking the background at 0.5% increments from 0.5 to 5.5 % and including the masked voxels (an intrinsically flawed method). Two-tailed Student's t test was performed between the white matter and the hematoma ADC values. RESULTS: There was no statistically significant difference between the hematomas and the white matter for methods 1 through 3 (P = .14, P = .23, and P = .83, respectively). Only method 4 revealed a statistically significant difference, beginning at 0.5% masking (P = .04) and becoming progressively more significant with increased masking (P = 4.14 × 10-7 at 5.5% masking). The effect of masking was limited to the T2-dark hematomas. CONCLUSION: There is no restriction of diffusion for in vivo hematomas with intracellular blood products. The T2 blackout effect for T2-dark hematomas on diffusion-weighted images should not be interpreted as fast diffusion. The method of expected values can be used to obtain measurements for regions with signal intensities near the background noise. Using literature values for RBC self-diffusion, we computed lower limits of diffusion for hematomas with intracellular blood products to be 0.3 × 10-3 mm2/s.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)112-118
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology


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