Evaluation of acute white matter injuries caused by carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning can be limited by conventional magnetic resonance (MR) imaging. We aim to evaluate the feasibility of diffusion kurtosis imaging (DKI) for early detection of white matter alterations in patients with acute CO intoxication. A total of 30 subjects including 15 acute CO patients and 15 age- and sex-matched healthy volunteers were enrolled in this study. MR examinations were performed on a 3T MR scanner within 8 days after CO intoxication. DKI data were acquired to derive axial, radial, and mean kurtosis, as well as fractional anisotropy (FA), axial, radial, and mean diffusivity for tract-specific comparisons between the 2 groups. Significant decreases of mean kurtosis were shown in the genu of corpus callosum, cingulum, and motor-related tracts (corticospinal and corticobulbar tracts) in patients with acute CO intoxication as compared with controls. On the contrary, significant differences of FA values were merely shown in the regions of corticospinal tracts. DKI demonstrated comparably stronger potential than diffusion tensor imaging in terms of early detection of white matter changes in patients with acute CO intoxication. This may have implications in therapeutic strategy for managing acute CO intoxication patients.
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