BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: T2-relaxometry brain MR imaging enables objective measurement of brain maturation based on the water-macromolecule ratio in white matter, but the outcome correlation is not established in preterm infants. Our study aimed to predict neurodevelopment with T2-relaxation values of brain MR imaging among preterm infants. MATERIALS AND METHODS: From January 1, 2012, to May 31, 2015, preterm infants who underwent both T2-relaxometry brain MR imaging and neurodevelopmental follow-up were retrospectively reviewed. T2-relaxation values were measured over the periventricular white matter, including sections through the frontal horns, midbody of the lateral ventricles, and centrum semiovale. Periventricular T2 relaxometry in relation to corrected age was analyzed with restricted cubic spline regression. Prediction of cerebral palsy was examined with the receiver operating characteristic curve. RESULTS: Thirty-eight preterm infants were enrolled for analysis. Twenty patients (52.6%) had neurodevelopmental abnormalities, including 8 (21%) with developmental delay without cerebral palsy and 12 (31.6%) with cerebral palsy. The periventricular T2-relaxation values in relation to age were curvilinear in preterm infants with normal development, linear in those with developmental delay without cerebral palsy, and flat in those with cerebral palsy. When MR imaging was performed at≥1 month corrected age, cerebral palsy could be predicted with T2 relaxometry of the periventricular white matter on sections through the midbody of the lateral ventricles (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve 0.738; cutoff value of ≤217.4 with 63.6% sensitivity and 100.0% specificity). CONCLUSIONS: T2-relaxometry brain MR imaging could provide prognostic prediction of neurodevelopmental outcomes in premature infants. Age-dependent and area-selective interpretation in preterm brains should be emphasized.
ASJC Scopus subject areas