Leukoaraiosis on Magnetic Resonance Imaging Correlates With Worse Outcomes After Spontaneous Intracerebral Hemorrhage

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Background and Purpose—

Leukoaraiosis (LA) is associated with dementia, ischemic stroke, and intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH), but there are few data on how LA might impact outcomes after acute ICH. We tested the hypothesis that the severity of LA on magnetic resonance imaging is related to worse functional outcomes after spontaneous ICH.


We prospectively identified patients with spontaneous acute ICH. LA was identified on magnetic resonance imaging and its severity was graded using the Fazekas method to include a score for the deep white matter and periventricular regions. Outcomes were obtained at 14 days, 28 days, and 3 months with the modified Rankin Scale (mRS; a validated scale from 0 [no symptoms] to 6 [dead]) and analyzed with multivariate logistic regression.


Higher Fazekas total (periventricular plus deep white matter) score correlated with higher mRS score at 14 days (P=0.02) and 3 months (P=0.02). This relationship was driven by the periventricular score, for which higher score (more severe disease) correlated with higher National Institute of Health Stroke Scale at 14 days (P=0.03), and higher mRS score at 14 days (P<0.001), 28 days (P=0.004), and 3 months (P=0.005). A higher (more severe) Fazekas periventricular score was associated with dependence or death at 3 months (odds ratio, 1.8 per point; 95% confidence interval, 1.02–3.1; P=0.04) after correction for the ICH score.


Increased LA is an independent predictor of worse functional outcomes in patients after spontaneous ICH. The pathophysiology associating LA with worse outcomes requires further study. These data may improve prognostication and selection for clinical trials.

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