Semin Neurol 2022; 42(03): 325-334
DOI: 10.1055/a-1892-1894
Review Article

Applications of Advanced MRI to Disorders of Consciousness

1   Division of Neurocritical Care, Department of Neurology, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
2   Division of Anaesthesia, Department of Medicine, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom
3   School of Psychology and Centre for Human Brain Health, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Samuel B. Snider
4   Division of Neurocritical Care, Department of Neurology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
› Author Affiliations
Funding D.F. is supported by the NIH National Institute of Neurologic Disorders and Stroke (R25NS06574309). V.N. is supported by the Academy of Medical Sciences/The Health Foundation Clinician Scientist Fellowship. D.F.-E. has no funding to report. S.B.S. is supported by the American Academy of Neurology Clinical Research Training Scholarship.


Disorder of consciousness (DoC) after severe brain injury presents numerous challenges to clinicians, as the diagnosis, prognosis, and management are often uncertain. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has long been used to evaluate brain structure in patients with DoC. More recently, advances in MRI technology have permitted more detailed investigations of the brain's structural integrity (via diffusion MRI) and function (via functional MRI). A growing literature has begun to show that these advanced forms of MRI may improve our understanding of DoC pathophysiology, facilitate the identification of patient consciousness, and improve the accuracy of clinical prognostication. Here we review the emerging evidence for the application of advanced MRI for patients with DoC.

Publication History

Accepted Manuscript online:
05 July 2022

Article published online:
13 September 2022

© 2022. Thieme. All rights reserved.

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