Hypoxic-ischemic injury (HII) continues to be an important cause of neonatal mortality and morbidity. In recent years, the role of magnetic resonance (MR) imaging has increased by providing early detection to initiate preventive measures and assess the severity of tissue injury, and it often serves as a prognostic indicator. However, because of the subtle findings and temporal variability of signal abnormalities, the imaging diagnosis often remains roublesome, particularly for trainees and general radiologists who do not often encounter these findings. The imaging manifestations between term and preterm infants differ significantly; the imaging findings in term neonates are discussed. Two main patterns of HII have been described in term neonates: peripheral and basal anglia-thalamus, with the predominant pattern in an affected infant dependent on the duration and severity of the insult. The peripheral pattern occurs in the setting of mild hypoxia or ischemia of prolonged duration, with predominant findings in the cerebral cortex and subcortical white matter along the intervascular boundary zones. The basal ganglia-thalamus pattern is most often secondary to a more severe hypoxic or ischemic event of short duration and manifests with abnormal hyperintensity on T1-weighted images and hypointensity on T2-weighted images in the posterolateral putamen and ventrolateral thalamus. Associated loss of normal hyperintensity on T1-weighted images and hypointensity on T2-weighted images in the posterior limb of the internal capsule may be present. Restricted diffusion and evolution of imaging findings may be seen in each of these regions, depending on when images are obtained. Advanced imaging techniques, including MR spectroscopy, may add valuable nformation and specificity, with an abnormal lactate peak often serving as an indicator of HII in term neonates.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging