Recovery of consciousness after a brainstem cavernous malformation hemorrhage: A descriptive study of preserved reticular activating system with tractography




The aim of this study is to describe the imaging features, the relevant anatomy, and the fractional anisotropy (FA) values in diffusion tensor tractography (DTT) of the ascending reticular activating system (ARAS) fiber tracts in 2 patients who recovered from initial altered consciousness after presenting with a brainstem cavernous malformation (BSCM) hemorrhage. A DTT was performed in 2 patients with impaired consciousness after a brainstem cavernous malformation hemorrhage. A 1.5 T scanner was used to obtain the axial tensors. Post-processing was performed and the mean FA values were recorded. The FA maps were used to seed the following regions of interest: the ventromedial midbrain, the anterior thalamus bilaterally, and the hypothalamus bilaterally. The first case presented with posterior displacement of the dorsal raphè fiber tracts, with preservation of all the ascending reticular activating fiber tracts and spontaneous recovery of consciousness after 20 days. The second case presented with no destruction but also had posterior displacement of the inferior dorsal raphè fiber tracts, with recovery of consciousness 1 month after resection surgery. Described in this study are affected fibers of the ARAS, as well as the FA value abnormalities in 2 patients, with recovery of a transient disorder of consciousness after a BSCM hemorrhage.

Palabras clave


Diffusion tensor imagingArousal, Consciousness, Ascending reticular activating system, Tractography, Cavernous malformation, Brainstem


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