The summed Alberta Stroke Program Early CT Score (ASPECTS) is useful for predicting stroke outcome. The anatomical information in the CT template is rarely used for this purpose because traditional regression methods are not adept at handling collinearity (relatedness) among brain regions. While penalized logistic regression (PLR) can handle collinearity, it does not provide an intuitive understanding of the interaction among network structures in a way that eigenvector method such as PageRank can (used in Google search engine). In this exploratory analysis we applied graph theoretical analysis to explore the relationship among ASPECTS regions with respect to disability outcome. The Virtual International Stroke Trials Archive (VISTA) was searched for patients who had infarct in at least one ASPECTS region (ASPECTS ≤9, ASPECTS=10 were excluded), and disability (modified Rankin score/mRS). A directed graph was created from a cross correlation matrix (thresholded at false discovery rate of 0.01) of the ASPECTS regions and demographic variables and disability (mRS>2). We estimated the network-based importance of each ASPECTS region by comparing PageRank and node strength measures. These results were compared with those from PLR. There were 185 subjects, average age 67.5± 12.8 years (55% Males). Model 1: demographic variables having no direct connection with disability, the highest PageRank was M2 (0.225, bootstrap 95% CI 0.215-0.347). Model 2: demographic variables having direct connection with disability, the highest PageRank were M2 (0.205, bootstrap 95% CI 0.194-0.367) and M5 (0.125, bootstrap 95% CI 0.096-0.204). Both models illustrate the importance of M2 region to disability. The PageRank method reveals complex interaction among ASPECTS regions with respects to disability. This approach may help to understand the infarcted brain network involved in stroke disability.
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