Objective: To describe a region of hyperechoic white matter adjacent to the atrium of the lateral ventricle of preterms, and to speculate on the relevance of detecting preterm white matter injury. Patients and methods: Cranial ultrasound images of 92 preterms of gestational age (GA) 32 wk or less were reviewed. For each infant, one first week standard coronal image was used for measurement of grey values around the para-atrial region of interest (PAROI) relative to the choroid plexus. For verification of the sonographic anatomy, MR images of an adult brain were used. For reference, neuro-anatomical images were compared in several atlases. In a group of nine preterms of similar GA with cystic periventricular leukomalacia (PVL) or MR-confirmed white matter disease, the disappearance of the PAROI was examined. Results: The hyperechoic para-atrial area, subjectively detected in 84% of the patients, was situated bilaterally between the inner end of the lateral fissure and the upper third of the choroid plexus. In white matter caudal to the atrium, the hyperechoic band could be pursued towards the calcarine area. The average ratio of grey value around the PAROI to the choroid plexus was 0.787 (SD = 0.072, median 0.791). There was no correlation between PAROI grey value and gestational age. At 26 wk gestational age, the average ratio was 0.781 (n = 14), and 0.789 (n = 17) at 31 wk. Location of the PAROI agrees with the angle of the upper loop of the optic radiation. None of the nine infants with white matter damage had PAROIs clearly distinguishable from flaring. Conclusion: The symmetrical and unchanged acoustic character between 26 and 31 wk of gestational age argues in favour of the hypothesis that the PAROI is an anatomical structure. The localization of the hyperechoic band supports the hypothesis that it represents part of the optic radiation. Further study is needed to examine the absence of a hyperechoic para-atrial band as a prognostic marker of the extension and severity of white matter injury.

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doi.org/10.1080/08035250510031331, hdl.handle.net/1765/68069
Acta Paediatrica: promoting child health
Department of Pathology

Boxma, A, Lequin, M.H, Ramenghi, L, Kros, M, & Govaert, P. (2005). Sonographic detection of the optic radiation. Acta Paediatrica: promoting child health, 94(10), 1455–1461. doi:10.1080/08035250510031331