Background: Non-traumatic convexal subarachnoid hemorrhages (cSAH) in the elderly can be a manifestation of cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA) and predict future intracerebral hemorrhage risk. The frequency of cSAH in the elderly population is unknown. Our objective was to determine the frequency of convexal subarachnoid hemorrhage in a population-based study among individuals who underwent amyloid PET imaging.
Methods: Between 11/29/2004 and 3/11/2017 there were 1,687 participants ages 50-years and older in the population-based Mayo Clinic Study of Aging (MCSA) with Pittsburgh compound B (PiB) PET imaging. All intracerebral hemorrhages among participants were identified utilizing the Rochester Epidemiology Project’s records linkage system, and records and images were reviewed to identify those with both symptomatic and asymptomatic convexal subarachnoid hemorrhage. Neuroimaging characteristics, demographics, medications, and ApoE genotype were recorded.
Results: Four (0.23%) cSAHs were identified among the individuals who underwent PiB PET imaging. Three were women and median age was 73 (range: 67-84). cSAH occurred in the following locations: right frontal (3), and right parieto-occipital (1). Two went on to develop a lobar intracerebral hemorrhage at a median of 4.75 years after cSAH. Coexisting cerebral microbleeds were identified in one case. The APOE allele combinations of the four participants were: 3/3, 3/3, 2/2, and 2/3. On PiB PET imaging, the median SUVR was 1.81 (range: 1.38-2.34).
Conclusion: cSAH is a relatively rare manifestation of CAA occurring in less than 1% of the general population, but may represent a subset with a high risk of future intracerebral hemorrhage. Half of the participants with cSAH had an APOE e2 allele.