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Limbic pathway vulnerability associates with neurologic outcome in children after cardiac arrest

      Abstract

      Aim

      To analyze whether brain connectivity sequences including diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rsfMRI) identify vulnerable brain regions and networks associated with neurologic outcome after pediatric cardiac arrest.

      Methods

      Children aged 2 d-17 y with cardiac arrest were enrolled in one of 2 parent studies at a single center. Clinically indicated brain MRI with DTI and rsfMRI and performed within 2 weeks after arrest were analyzed. Tract-wise fractional anisotropy (FA) and axial, radial, and mean diffusivity assessed DTI, and functional connectivity strength (FCS) assessed rsfMRI between outcome groups. Unfavorable neurologic outcome was defined as Pediatric Cerebral Performance Category score 4–6 or change > 1 between 6 months after arrest vs baseline.

      Results

      Among children with DTI (n = 28), 57% had unfavorable outcome. Mean, radial, axial diffusivity and FA of varying direction of magnitude in the limbic tracts, including the right cingulum parolfactory, left cingulum parahippocampal, corpus callosum forceps major, and corpus callosum forceps minor tracts, were associated with unfavorable neurologic outcome (p < 0.05). Among children with rsfMRI (n = 12), 67% had unfavorable outcome. Decreased FCS in the ventromedial and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, insula, precentral gyrus, anterior cingulate, and inferior parietal lobule were correlated regionally with unfavorable neurologic outcome (p < 0.05 Family-Wise Error corrected).

      Conclusion

      Decreased multimodal connectivity measures of paralimbic tracts were associated with unfavorable neurologic outcome after pediatric cardiac arrest. Longitudinal analysis correlating brain connectivity sequences with long term neuropsychological outcomes to identify the impact of pediatric cardiac arrest in vulnerable brain networks over time appears warranted.

      Keywords

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