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Original research
Clinical value of automated volumetric quantification of early ischemic tissue changes on non-contrast CT


Background Quantitative and automated volumetric evaluation of early ischemic changes on non-contrast CT (NCCT) has recently been proposed as a new tool to improve prognostic performance in patients undergoing endovascular therapy (EVT) for acute ischemic stroke (AIS). We aimed to test its clinical value compared with the Alberta Stroke Program Early CT Score (ASPECTS) in a large single-institutional patient cohort.

Methods A total of 1103 patients with AIS due to large vessel occlusion in the M1 or proximal M2 segments who underwent NCCT and EVT between January 2013 and November 2019 were retrospectively enrolled. Acute ischemic volumes (AIV) and ASPECTS were generated from the baseline NCCT through e-ASPECTS (Brainomix). Correlations were tested using Spearman’s coefficient. The predictive capabilities of AIV for a favorable outcome (modified Rankin Scale score at 90 days ≤2) were tested using multivariable logistic regression as well as machine-learning models. Performance of the models was assessed using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves and differences were tested using DeLong’s test.

Results Patients with a favorable outcome had a significantly lower AIV (median 12.0 mL (IQR 5.7–21.7) vs 18.8 mL (IQR 9.4–33.9), p<0.001). AIV was highly correlated with ASPECTS (rho=0.78, p<0.001) and weakly correlated with the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score at baseline (rho=0.22, p<0.001), and was an independent predictor of an unfavorable clinical outcome (adjusted OR 0.97, 95% CI 0.96 to 0.98). No significant difference was found between machine-learning models using either AIV or ASPECTS or both metrics for predicting a good clinical outcome (p>0.05).

Conclusion AIV is an independent predictor of clinical outcome and presented a non-inferior performance compared with ASPECTS, without clear advantages for prognostic modelling.

  • CT
  • Stroke
  • Thrombectomy

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request.

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