3T MRI vs 1.5T MRI for Diagnosing MS in Clinically Isolated Syndrome

MRI, fmri
MRI, fmri
Investigators examine whether 3T MRI imaging would improve detection in patients presenting with clinically isolated syndrome to fulfil MS diagnostic criteria.

Compared with 1.5-Tesla (T) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), 3T MRI does not improve the ability to diagnose multiple sclerosis (MS) according to McDonald diagnostic criteria, as reported in results published in Neurology.

The study included participants with clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) who had symptom onset within 6 months (n=66) and healthy control participants (n=26) from 6 MS centers. All participants underwent 1.5T and 3T brain and spinal cord MRI at baseline. Participants who did not convert to MS during follow-up underwent additional brain MRIs at 3 to 6 months and 12 to 15 months. The number of lesions per region was scored by the consensus of 3 raters. The researchers used the 2017 revisions of the McDonald criteria to determine dissemination in space (DIS) and dissemination in time (DIT).

Compared with 1.5T MRI, 3T MRI detected 15% more T2 brain lesions (P <.001). Specifically, the 3T MRI detected 12% more periventricular (P =.015), 21% more cortical (P =.005), and 21% more deep white matter lesions (P <.001) compared with 1.5T.

There was no difference in detection rate of spinal cord lesions and gadolinium-enhancing lesions between 1.5T and 3T MRI.

At baseline, first follow-up, and second follow-up, 3T MRI did not lead to a higher number of participants fulfilling the criteria for DIS or DIT or diagnosis of MS.

Related Articles

“Taken together, even though there is a slightly increased detection of periventricular and (juxta)cortical lesions at 3T compared to 1.5T, this does not affect the diagnosis for patients with CIS suggestive of MS,” the researchers wrote.


This study has received funding from a program grant (14- 358e) from the Dutch MS Research Foundation (Voorschoten, The Netherlands).


Hagens MHJ, Burggraaff J, Kilsdonk ID, et al. Three-Tesla MRI does not improve the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis: A multicenter study [published online June 20, 2018]. Neurology. doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000005825