Introduction: Gradient-echo T2 star (T2*)-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a sensitive method to detect cerebral microbleeds (CMBs). The presence of CMBs was reported to be a marker of future cardiovascular mortality, and associated with various cardiovascular risk factors, and antithrombotic drugs. However, the relationship between cardiac function and CMBs remains unclear. We investigated the association between cardiac function and the presence of CMBs in patients with cardiovascular diseases.
Methods: A consecutive 219 patients (mean age: 72 ± 12 years, 141 men) without neurological abnormalities who underwent T2*-weighted MRI of the brain and transthoracic echocardiography were enrolled.
Results: CMBs were found in 73 (33%) patients. There was no significant relationship between CMBs and antithrombotic therapy, hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes mellitus, or smoking status. Patients with CMBs had significantly higher plasma BNP (median 132 pg/ml, interquartile range [IQR] 53 - 470 pg/ml) than those without CMBs (median 76 pg/ml, IQR 27 - 205 pg/ml, P<0.05). In a multivariate logistic regression analysis using the stepwise selection method, left ventricular ejection fraction (odds ratio, 0.97; 95% CI, 0.94 - 0.99; P <0.02) and age (odds ratio, 1.03; 95% CI, 1.00 - 1.07; P <0.05) were significantly associated with CMBs.
Conclusions: In patients with cardiovascular disease, CMBs were frequent observed (33%). The presence of CMBs was significantly associated with decreased left ventricular systolic function, independent of antithrombotic therapy.