The purpose of this study was to evaluate asymptomatic embolisms during cerebral endovascular surgery for cerebrovascular diseases with diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DWI) which allowed sensitive and early detection of cerebral ischemic lesions. 71 patients who underwent a total of 74 cerebral endovascular procedures were subjected to DWI screening study. MR imaging was performed on a 1.5T system by using single-shot SE echo-planar imaging (EPI) with b value of 1100 seconds per mm2 in pre- and post-treatment periods (between day 2 and 5 after procedures). In 38 (51.3%) of 74 procedures, new high intensity lesions, as recent infarctions related to procedures, were detected on post-procedural DWI. In 18 of the patients (47.4%), symptomatic infarctions occurred and resulted in TIAs (n = 4), RINDs (n = 8), minor strokes (n = 6) and no major strokes and no death. 20 (52.6%) of the recent infarctions detected by DWI were asymptomatic lesions. Most of the asymptomatic ischemic lesions were likely to be distributed in watershed border areas. On the other hand, symptomatic lesions tended to be distributed in cortical and/or perforator regions and to be multiple. Thus, DWI is a useful method that can detect neurologically silent and asymptomatic ischemic lesions. It can be used to help to evaluate the safety and efficacy of neurovascular intervention.
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