Imaging

Huntington's Disease

Preliminary Diagnosis: Huntington's Disease

I. What imaging technique is first-line for this diagnosis

  • CT scan of the head without contrast

II. Describe the advantages and disadvantages of this technique for diagnosis of Huntington's disease.

Advantages

  • Less expensive and much faster to perform than MR imaging

Disadvantages

  • Less sensitive and specific in detailing any specific caudate head atrophy or identifying, characterizing, and detailing any specific gray or white matter abnormalities

  • Exposes the patient to ionizing radiation

III. What are the contraindications for the first-line imaging technique?

  • May be contraindicated in pregnant patients

IV. What alternative imaging techniques are available?

  • Contrasted MR of the brain

V. Describe the advantages and disadvantages of the alternative techniques for diagnosis of Huntington's disease.

Contrasted MR of the brain

Advantages

  • Able to much better define, delineate, and characterize the gray and white matter specifically identifying the caudate head compared to CT

  • Does not expose patients to ionizing radiation

Disadvantages

  • Expensive

  • Time-consuming

  • Requires significant patient cooperation to minimize motion artifact

VI. What are the contraindications for the alternative imaging techniques?

Contrasted MR of the brain

  • Contraindicated in patients with non-MR compatible hardware

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