Natural history and prognostic value of corticospinal tract Wallerian degeneration in intracerebral hemorrhage.

Journal of the American Heart Association

PubMedID: 23913508

Venkatasubramanian C, Kleinman JT, Fischbein NJ, Olivot JM, Gean AD, Eyngorn I, Snider RW, Mlynash M, Wijman CA. Natural history and prognostic value of corticospinal tract Wallerian degeneration in intracerebral hemorrhage. J Am Heart Assoc. 2013;2(4):e000090.
BACKGROUND
The purpose of this study was to define the incidence, imaging characteristics, natural history, and prognostic implication of corticospinal tract Wallerian degeneration (CST-WD) in spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) using serial MR imaging.

METHODS AND RESULTS
Consecutive ICH patients with supratentorial ICH prospectively underwent serial MRIs at 2, 7, 14, and 21 days. MRIs were analyzed by independent raters for the presence and topographical distribution of CST-WD on diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI). Baseline demographics, hematoma characteristics, ICH score, and admission National Institute of Health Stroke Score (NIHSS) were systematically recorded. Functional outcome at 3 months was assessed by the modified Rankin Scale (mRS) and the motor-NIHSS. Twenty-seven patients underwent 93 MRIs; 88 of these were serially obtained in the first month. In 13 patients (48%), all with deep ICH, CST-WD changes were observed after a median of 7 days (interquartile range, 7 to 8) as reduced diffusion on DWI and progressed rostrocaudally along the CST. CST-WD changes evolved into T2-hyperintense areas after a median of 11 days (interquartile range, 6 to 14) and became atrophic on MRIs obtained after 3 months. In univariate analyses, the presence of CST-WD was associated with poor functional outcome (ie, mRS 4 to 6; P=0.046) and worse motor-NIHSS (5 versus 1, P=0.001) at 3 months.

CONCLUSIONS
Wallerian degeneration along the CST is common in spontaneous supratentorial ICH, particularly in deep ICH. It can be detected 1 week after ICH on DWI and progresses rostrocaudally along the CST over time. The presence of CST-WD is associated with poor motor and functional recovery after ICH.