Cerebral microbleeds and white matter changes in patients hospitalized with lacunar infarcts

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Abstract.Microbleeds (MBs) detected by gradient-echo T2*-weighted MRI (GRE-T2*),white matter changes and lacunar infarcts may be regarded as manifestations of microangiopathy. The establishment of a quantitative relationship among them would further strengthen this hypothesis. We aimed to investigate the frequency and the number of MBs in patients hospitalized with lacunar infarcts and their quantitative relationship with the severity of white matter changes (WMC) and the number of old lacunar infarcts. We performed a hospital-based survey of patients with acute lacunar infarct. Eighty-two consecutive Chinese patients with acute lacunar infarcts on diffusion-weighted imaging were recruited in 2002. The number of MBs, number of old lacunar infarcts on T2-weighted imaging and the severity of WMC on MRI on admission were recorded. MBs were detected in 22 (27%) patients. The number of MBs ranged from 1 to 42 (mean 6.59, median 3). Advancing age and previous transient ischemic attacks or cerebrovascular accidents (TIA/CVA) were more common in patients with MBs than those without. There were significant correlations among the number of MBs, extent of WMC and number of lacunar infarcts: lacunar infarcts and MBs (r = 0.297, p = 0.007); lacunar infarct and WMC (r = 0.331, p = 0.002); WMC and MBs (r = 0.522, p < 0.0001). In conclusion, linear associations exist among MBs, WMC and lacunar infarcts. Our results suggest that all three may have a shared pathogenesis such as advanced microangiopathy.

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