Introduction: Intracranial arterial calcification (IAC) is frequently observed on brain computed tomography (CT) in stroke patients. However, the association between IAC and stroke recurrence after hospital discharge has received little attention. In this study, we aim to explore the effect of IAC on the long-term stroke recurrence.
Subjects and methods: We prospectively recruited consecutive patients with ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack during December 2004 and March 2005 from a population-based stroke registry at Prince of Wales Hospital. Demographic characteristics, stroke risk factors, and stroke etiology were recorded at baseline. IAC volume and IAC Agatston score were both measured on 16-slice CT with a semi-automatic system. All patients were regularly followed up for stroke recurrence till July 2016.
Results: Total 694 patients (age 71.6±12.4; male sex 50.3%; median follow-up period 8.8 years) were followed up. Stroke recurred in 156 patients (22.5%). Multivariate Cox proportional hazard model found higher IAC Agatston score was predictive factor for both recurrent stroke (HR per 1-SD increment 1.301; 95% CI, 1.084-1.561, p=0.005) and stroke death (HR per 1-SD increment, 1.441; 95% CI, 1.061-1.956, p=0.019). In addition, among different stroke etiological subtypes, IAC Agatston score was independent risk factor of stroke recurrence for index small-vessel occlusive stroke patients (HR per 1-SD increment, 1.674; 95% CI, 1.061-2.639, p=0.027).
Conclusions: Quantitative-evaluated IAC scores can predict long-term stroke recurrence and stroke death.