Use of contrast-enhanced fluid-attenuated inversion recovery sequence to detect brain lesions in dogs and cats

Merhof K, Lang J, Durr S, et al. 

J Vet Intern Med 2014;28:1263-1267.

BACKGROUND: The diagnostic value of a contrast-enhanced T2-weighted FLAIR sequence (ceFLAIR) in brain imaging is unclear. HYPOTHESIS/OBJECTIVES: That the number of brain lesions detected with ceFLAIR would be no greater than the sum of lesions detected with nFLAIR and ceT1W sequence. ANIMALS: One hundred and twenty-nine animals (108 dogs and 21 cats) undergoing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the head between July 2010 and October 2011 were included in the study. METHODS: A transverse ceFLAIR was added to a standard brain MRI protocol. Presence and number of lesions were determined based on all available MRI sequences by 3 examiners in consensus and lesion visibility was evaluated for nFLAIR, ceFLAIR, and ceT1W sequences. RESULTS: Eighty-three lesions (58 intra-axial and 25 extra-axial) were identified in 51 patients. Five lesions were detected with nFLAIR alone, 2 with ceT1W alone, and 1 with ceFLAIR alone. Significantly higher numbers of lesions were detected using ceFLAIR than nFLAIR (76 versus 67 lesions; P = 0.04), in particular for lesions also detected with ceT1W images (53 versus 40; P =.01). There was no significant difference between the number of lesions detected with combined nFLAIR and ceT1W sequences compared to those detected with ceFLAIR (82 versus 76; P =.25). CONCLUSION AND CLINICAL IMPORTANCE: Use of ceFLAIR as a complementary sequence to nFLAIR and ceT1W sequences did not improve the detection of brain lesions and cannot be recommended as part of a routine brain MRI protocol in dogs and cats with suspected brain lesions.