Turkish Journal of Medical Sciences




Background/aim: Leukoaraiosis produces white matter lesions (WML) similar to multiple sclerosis (MS) on brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and the distinction between these two conditions is difficult radiologically. This study aimed to investigate the role of the central vein sign (CVS) in susceptibility-weighted imaging (SWI) sequence in distinguishing MS lesions from leukoaraiosis lesions in Turkish population. Materials and methods: In this prospective study, axial SWI and sagittal three-dimensional fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (3DFLAIR) were obtained in 374 consecutive patients. The study consisted of 169 (89 MS patients, 80 patients with leukoaraiosis) patients according to the inclusion and exclusion criteria. Two observers evaluated MR images by consensus, and observers were unaware of the patient's clinical findings. Locations (periventricular, juxtacortical, and deep white matter) and the presence of CVS were investigated for each of the lesions. Differences between patients in the leukoaraiosis and MS groups were investigated using the Mann-Whitney U test or chi-square analysis. In addition, receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis was used to analyze the diagnostic performance of CVS. Results: A total of 1908 WMLs (1265 MS lesions, 643 leukoaraiosis) were detected in 169 patients. The CVS was significantly higher in the MS lesions (p < 0.001). The CVS positivity rate in periventricular WMLs was higher than in juxtacortical WMLs or deep WMLs, both for all patients and for patients with MS (p < 0.001). The area under the curve (AUC) of the ROC analysis was 0.88 (95% confidence interval 0.83-0.93) for CVS in the distinction of MS lesions and leukoaraiosis. Conclusion: The presence of CVS in the SWI sequence can be used as an auxiliary finding for the diagnosis of MS in the differentiation of MS and leukoaraiosis lesions.


Multiple sclerosis, leukoaraiosis, susceptibility-weighted imaging, central vein sign

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