Prognostic value of early magnetic resonance imaging in dogs after traumatic brain injury: 50 cases

Beltran E, Platt SR, McConnell JF, et al.

J Vet Intern Med 2014;28:1256-1262.

BACKGROUND: The prognostic value of early magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in dogs after traumatic brain injury (TBI) remains unclear. OBJECTIVES: Determine whether MRI findings are associated with prognosis after TBI in dogs. ANIMALS: Fifty client-owned dogs. METHODS: Retrospective study of dogs with TBI that underwent 1.5T MRI within 14 days after head trauma. MRI evaluators were blinded to the clinical presentation, and all images were scored based on an MRI grading system (Grade I [normal brain parenchyma] to Grade VI [bilateral lesions affecting the brainstem with or without any lesions of lesser grade]). Skull fractures, percentage of intraparenchymal lesions, degree of midline shift, and type of brain herniation were evaluated. MGCS was assessed at presentation. The presence of seizures was recorded. Outcome was assessed at 48 h (alive or dead) and at 3, 6, 12, and 24 months after TBI. RESULTS: Sixty-six percent of the dogs had abnormal MRI findings. MRI grade was negatively correlated (P < .001) with MGCS. A significant negative correlation of MRI grade, degree of midline shift, and percentage of intraparenchymal lesions with follow-up scores was identified. The MGCS was lower in dogs with brain herniation (P = .0191). Follow-up scores were significantly lower in dogs that had brain herniation or skull fractures. The possibility of having seizures was associated with higher percentage of intraparenchymal lesions (P = 0.0054) and 10% developed PTE. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL IMPORTANCE: Significant associations exist between MRI findings and prognosis in dogs with TBI. MRI can help to predict prognosis in dogs with TBI.