Intravoxel incoherent motion (IVIM) diffusion-weighted MRI can simultaneously measure diffusion and perfusion characteristics in a non-invasive way. This study aimed to determine the potential utility of IVIM in characterizing brain diffusion and perfusion properties for clinical stroke. The multi-b-value diffusion-weighted images of 101 patients diagnosed with acute/subacute ischemic stroke were retrospectively evaluated. The diffusion coefficient D, representing the water apparent diffusivity, was obtained by fitting the diffusion data with increasing high b-values to a simple mono-exponential model. The IVIM-derived perfusion parameters, pseudodiffusion coefficient D*, vascular volume fraction f and blood flow-related parameter fD*, were calculated with the bi-exponential model. Additionally, the apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) was fitted according to the mono-exponential model using all b-values. The diffusion parameters for the ischemic lesion and normal contralateral region were measured in each patient. Statistical analysis was performed using the paired Student t-test and Pearson correlation test. Diffusion data in both the ischemic lesion and normal contralateral region followed the IVIM bi-exponential behavior, and the IVIM model showed better goodness of fit than the mono-exponential model with lower Akaike information criterion values. The paired Student t-test revealed significant differences for all diffusion parameters (all P < 0.001) except D* (P = 0.218) between ischemic and normal areas. For all patients in both ischemic and normal regions, ADC was significantly positively correlated with D (both r = 1, both P < 0.001) and f (r = 0.541, P < 0.001; r = 0.262, P = 0.008); significant correlation was also found between ADC and fD* in the ischemic region (r = 0.254, P = 0.010). For all pixels within the region of interest from a representative subject in both ischemic and normal regions, ADC was significantly positively correlated with D (both r = 1, both P < 0.001), f (r = 0.823, P < 0.001; r = 0.652, P < 0.001) and fD* (r = 0.294, P < 0.001; r = 0.340, P < 0.001). These findings may have clinical implications for the use of IVIM imaging in the assessment and management of acute/subacute stroke patients. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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