Mr imaging in comatose survivors of cardiac resuscitation

E. F.M. Wijdicks, N. G. Campeau, G. M. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

183 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The prognosis of comatose survivors is determined by clinical examination. Early laboratory indicators of poor prognosis (such as evoked potentials) have low sensitivity. The role of MR imaging as a confirmatory study was investigated. METHODS: We studied fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) and diffusion-weighted (DW) imaging in 10 patients comatose after cardiac arrest. RESULTS: None of the 10 comatose patients had myoclonus status epilepticus or fixed, dilated pupils on neurologic examination, and none had abnormal somatosensory-evoked potentials. Eight patients showed diffuse signal abnormalities, predominantly in the cerebellum (n = 5), the thalamus (n = 8), the frontal and parietal cortices (n = 8), and the hippocampus (n = 9). One patient showed normal MR imaging results, and one patient had abnormalities in the thalamus and cerebellum and minimal abnormality on DW images; both later awakened. None of the patients with abnormal cortical structures on FLAIR MR images recovered beyond a severely disabled state. CONCLUSION: MR imaging in comatose survivors may parallel the pathologic findings in severe anoxic-ischemic injury, and extensive abnormalities may indicate little to no prospects for recovery. If confirmed, MR imaging may have a role as a prognosticating test in anoxicischemic coma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1561-1565
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Sep 27 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology


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