Susceptibility-Weighted Imaging in Neurodegenerative Disorders: A Review

Academic Article


  • As human life expectancy increases, there is an increased prevalence of neurodegenerative disorders and dementia. There are many ongoing research trials for early diagnosis and management of dementia, and neuroimaging is a critical part of such studies. However, conventional neuroimaging often fails to provide enough diagnostic findings in patients with neurodegenerative disorders. In this context, different MRI sequences are currently under investigation to facilitate the accurate diagnosis of such disorders. Susceptibility-weighted imaging (SWI) is an innovative MRI technique that utilizes “magnitude” and “phase” images to produce an image contrast that is sensitive for the detection of susceptibility differences of the tissues. As many neurodegenerative disorders are associated with accelerated iron deposition and/or microhemorrhages in different parts of the brain, SWI can be applied to detect these diagnostic clues. For instance, in cerebral amyloid angiopathy, SWI can demonstrate cortical microhemorrhages, which are predominantly in the frontal and parietal regions. Or in Parkinson disease, abnormal swallow-tail sign on high-resolution SWI is highly diagnostic. Also, SWI is a useful sequence to detect the low signal intensity of precentral cortices in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Being familiar with SWI findings in neurodegenerative disorders is critical for an accurate diagnosis. In this paper, the authors review the technical parameters of SWI, physiologic, and pathologic iron deposition in the brain, and the role of SWI in the evaluation of neurodegenerative disorders in daily practice.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Sotoudeh H; Sarrami AH; Wang JX; Saadatpour Z; Razaei A; Gaddamanugu S; Choudhary G; Shafaat O; Singhal A
  • Start Page

  • 459
  • End Page

  • 470
  • Volume

  • 31
  • Issue

  • 3