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Isolated mild white matter signal changes in preterm infants: a regional approach for comparison of cranial ultrasound and MRI findings



To compare echogenicity detected using cranial ultrasound (cUS) and diffuse excessive high signal intensity (DEHSI) detected using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) by identical region-based scoring criteria in preterm infants. To explore the association between these white matter (WM) signal changes with early neurobehavior.

Study Design:

Forty-nine pre-selected premature infants with only echogenicity on a first routine cUS1 underwent MRI and a repeated cUS2 at term equivalent age. Echogenicity and DEHSI were graded in various brain areas and diffusivity values were calculated. Neurobehavior was assessed using the Rapid Neonatal Neurobehavioral Assessment Procedure.


WM signal changes were significantly higher on cUS1 than cUS2; and higher in MRI than cUS2 in posterior regions. Infants with DEHSI demonstrated reduced tissue integrity. Imaging findings were not correlated with early neurobehavior.


Echogenicity and DEHSI likely represent the same phenomenon. Reduction of over-interpretation of WM signal changes may help define criteria for the judicious use of imaging in routine follow-up of premature infants.

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Correspondence to L Ben-Sira.

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Weinstein, M., Ben Bashat, D., Gross-Tsur, V. et al. Isolated mild white matter signal changes in preterm infants: a regional approach for comparison of cranial ultrasound and MRI findings. J Perinatol 34, 476–482 (2014).

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  • echogenicity
  • cranial ultrasound
  • MRI
  • prematurity
  • DTI

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