BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Recent advances in spinal cord imaging analysis have led to the development of a robust anatomic template and atlas incorporated into an open-source platform referred to as the Spinal Cord Toolbox. Using the Spinal Cord Toolbox, we sought to correlate measures of GM, WM, and cross-sectional area pathology on T2 MR imaging with motor disability in patients with acute flaccid myelitis. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Spinal cord imaging for 9 patients with acute flaccid myelitis was analyzed by using the Spinal Cord Toolbox. A semiautomated pipeline using the Spinal Cord Toolbox measured lesion involvement in GM, WM, and total spinal cord cross-sectional area. Proportions of GM, WM, and cross-sectional area affected by T2 hyperintensity were calculated across 3 ROIs: 1) center axial section of lesion; 2) full lesion segment; and 3) full cord atlas volume. Spearman rank order correlation was calculated to compare MR metrics with clinical measures of disability. RESULTS: Proportion of GM metrics at the center axial section significantly correlated with measures of motor impairment upon admission (r =-0.78; P = .014) and at 3-month follow-up (r =-0.66; P = .05). Further, proportion of GM extracted across the full lesion segment significantly correlated with initial motor impairment (r =-0.74, P = .024). No significant correlation was found for proportion of WM or proportion of cross-sectional area with clinical disability. CONCLUSIONS: Atlas-based measures of proportion of GM T2 signal abnormality measured on a single axial MR imaging section and across the full lesion segment correlate with motor impairment and outcome in patients with acute flaccid myelitis. This is the first atlas-based study to correlate clinical outcomes with segmented measures of T2 signal abnormality in the spinal cord.
McCoy, D. B., Talbott, J. F., Wilson, M., Mamlouk, M. D., Cohen-Adad, J., Wilson, M., & Narvid, J. (2017). MRI atlas-based measurement of spinal cord injury predicts outcome in acute flaccid myelitis. American Journal of Neuroradiology, 38(2), 410–417. https://doi.org/10.3174/ajnr.A5044