Introduction: To investigate the extraocular muscle (EOM) changes in thyroid-associated orbitopathy (TAO) on DTI and the correlations between DTI parameters and clinical features. Methods: Twenty TAO patients and 20 age- and sex-matched controls provided informed consent and were enrolled. Ten-directional DTI was acquired in orbit. Fractional anisotropy (FA), mean, axial, and radial diffusivities were obtained at medial and lateral EOMs in both orbits. EOM thickness was measured in patients using axial CT images. FA and diffusivities were compared between patients and controls. The relationships between DTI values and muscle thickness and exophthalmos were evaluated. DTI values compared between patients in active and inactive phases by clinical activity score of TAO. DTI values were also compared between acute and chronic stages by the duration of disease. Results: In medial EOM, FA was significantly lower in patients (p < 0.001) and negatively correlated with muscle thickness (r = −0.604, p < 0.001). Radial diffusivity was significantly higher in patients (p = 0.010) and correlated with muscle thickness (r = 0.349, p = 0.027). In lateral EOM, DTI values did not differ between patients and controls. In the acute stage, the diffusivities of the medial rectus EOM were increased compared with the chronic stage. DTI values of the medial and lateral rectus EOM did not differ significantly between active and inactive phases. Conclusion: DTI can be used to diagnose TAO with FA and radial diffusivity change in EOM. Diffusivities can be used to differentiate acute and chronic stage of TAO. However, DTI values showed limitation in reflecting TAO activity according to the CAS.
- Diffusion tensor imaging
- Extraocular muscle
- Thyroid associated orbitopathy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Clinical Neurology
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine