Ultrasound Predicts White Matter Integrity after Hypothermia Therapy in Neonatal Hypoxic-Ischemic Injury

Jacqueline Salas, Nihaal Reddy, Kathryn A. Carson, Frances J. Northington, Thierry A.G.M. Huisman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Hypoxic-ischemic injury (HII) is a major cause of neonatal death and neurodevelopmental disability. Head ultrasounds (HUS) in neonates with HII often show enhanced gray/white matter differentiation. We assessed the significance of this finding in predicting white matter structural integrity measured by diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in neonates with HII. METHODS: We performed a quantitative region of interest-based analysis of white and gray matter echogenicity within the cingulate gyrus on pre- and posthypothermia HUS. We also completed a quantitative analysis of fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean (MD), axial (AD), and radial (RD) diffusivity within the bilateral anterior and posterior centrum semiovale (CSO) on posthypothermia brain magnetic resonance imaging. For HUS studies, we calculated a white-to-gray matter echogenicity ratio (WGR) and subsequently correlated it to DTI measurements. RESULTS: Forty-two term neonates with HII who underwent hypothermia therapy were included. Significant correlation was found between prehypothermia WGR and MD, AD, and RD values in the left anterior CSO (r =.38-.40, P =.02). Prehypothermia WGR also correlated with the following: MD and RD in the right anterior CSO (r =.35-.36, P =.04), MD and AD in the right posterior CSO (r =.32-.45, P =.008-.03), and AD in the left posterior CSO (r =.47, P =.005). No significant correlation was found either between prehypothermia WGR and FA values in the bilateral anterior and posterior CSO or between posthypothermia WGR and all DTI scalars in the bilateral anterior and posterior CSO. CONCLUSIONS: Prehypothermia HUS WGR may predict posthypothermia white matter structural integrity and is potentially an early and easily obtainable biomarker of severity in neonatal HII.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)743-749
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neuroimaging
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019


  • Diffusion tensor imaging
  • brain injury
  • head ultrasound
  • hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology


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