Cerebrovascular Diseases (Cerebrovasc Dis )

Publisher: S. Karger (Firm), Karger


A rapidly-growing field, cerebrovascular research is unique in that it involves a variety of specialties such as neurology, internal medicine, surgery, radiology, epidemiology, cardiology, hematology, psychology and rehabilitation. ëCerebrovascular Diseasesí is a new international forum which meets the growing need for sophisticated, up-to-date scientific information on clinical data, diagnostic testing, and therapeutic issues, dealing with all aspects of stroke and cerebrovascular diseases. It contains original contributions, reviews of selected topics and clinical investigative studies, recent meeting reports and work-in-progress as well as discussions on controversial issues. All aspects related to clinical advances are considered, while purely experimental work appears if directly relevant to clinical issues.

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Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background: Cerebral arterial occlusion develops via two distinct mechanisms: thrombosis and embolism. Discrimination between thrombosis and embolism is an important aspect needed for further determining the etiology of stroke in a patient. This study evaluated infarct patterns and outcomes in acute stroke patients with relevant artery occlusions, focusing on features specific to each occlusion mechanism. Methods: Acute ischemic stroke patients who were consecutively registered in a tertiary hospital between 2002 and 2010 with infarctions in the middle cerebral artery territory and a corresponding M1 occlusion confirmed by magnetic resonance angiography, computed tomography angiography, or conventional angiography were enrolled. Patients with a high-risk cardioembolic source, clear recanalization, concurrent infarct in an arterial territory other than the occlusion site, or no prior occlusion in a previous imaging within 1 month were assigned to the embolic occlusion group, and the remaining patients were assigned to the thrombotic occlusion group. The infarct pattern was categorized into seven groups: scattered, territorial, lenticulostriatal, scattered-territorial, scattered-lenticulostriatal, territorial-lenticulostriatal, and scattered-territorial-lenticulostriatal. Data of stroke recurrence and mortality were collected through electronic medical record and the National Vital Statistics System. Results: Of 114 patients, 54 (47.4%) were classified as having an embolic occlusion. When infarct patterns were compared between the groups, any-scattered infarct pattern was more common in the thrombotic occlusion group (71.2% vs. 40.7%, p = 0.002), and any-territorial infarct pattern was more prevalent in the embolic occlusion group (55.6% vs. 28.8%, p = 0.005). In addition, scattered-without-territorial pattern was higher in the thrombotic occlusion group (OR: 0.25; CI: 0.11-0.57; p = 0.001). Any-territorial infarct pattern was also related to initial stroke severity (NIHSS on admission, OR: 400.98; CI: 2.94-54,741.32; p = 0.017) and poor functional outcome (modified Rankin Scale score ≥4) at discharge (OR: 14.40; CI: 1.37-152.00; p = 0.027) independent of other parameters. However, no association was found between stroke recurrence, mortality and occlusion mechanism. Conclusion: This study shows that specific infarct patterns are related to cerebral arterial occlusion mechanisms and are correlated with functional outcome. Otherwise, the results of our study indicates that infarct patterns on DWI might be a clue for determining ischemic stroke etiology on patients with major cerebral artery occlusion. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Cerebrovascular Diseases 09/2014; 38(1):31-38.
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    ABSTRACT: Background: The Cilostazol Stroke Prevention Study 2 (CSPS 2) showed that cilostazol significantly reduced the risk of stroke by 25.7% relative to aspirin, with significantly fewer hemorrhagic events, in patients with prior ischemic stroke, excluding cardioembolic stroke. However, whether the benefit of cilostazol is sustained in patients with a high risk of bleeding has not been examined. Methods: We conducted a subanalysis of CSPS 2 to examine whether known risk factors for hemorrhagic stroke, such as stroke subtype and systolic blood pressure (SBP), influence the efficacy of the study drugs on hemorrhagic stroke. The relative risk reduction of hemorrhagic stroke was determined from the incidences calculated by the person-year method. The cumulative incidence rates of ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke were estimated and plotted using the Kaplan-Meier method. Incidences of serious hemorrhage and hemorrhage requiring hospital admission were also evaluated in the two treatment groups. Hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) calculated by the Cox proportion hazard model for cilostazol versus aspirin were assessed, and a log-rank test was used for the comparison between treatments. Results: The incidence of hemorrhagic stroke was significantly lower in the cilostazol group than in the aspirin group among patients with prior lacunar stroke (0.36 vs. 1.20% in person-year, HR 0.35, 95% CI 0.18-0.70, p < 0.01), but not among those with prior atherothrombotic stroke (0.31 vs. 0.59% in person-year, HR 0.53, 95% CI 0.14-2.0, p = 0.34). The incidence of hemorrhagic stroke was significantly lower in the cilostazol group than in the aspirin group throughout all SBP categories (Poisson regression model including time-dependent covariates, p < 0.01) including SBP above 140 mm Hg (cilostazol 0.45% vs. aspirin 1.44% in person-year; Poisson regression model including time-dependent covariates, p = 0.02). Cilostazol, compared with aspirin, significantly reduced the incidence of cerebral hemorrhage (HR 0.36, 95% CI 0.19-0.70, p < 0.01), overall hemorrhage requiring hospital admission (HR 0.53, 95% CI 0.29-0.97, p = 0.04), and gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding requiring hospital admission (HR 0.44, 95% CI 0.21-0.90, p = 0.03). Conclusions: Hemorrhagic stroke was less frequent in the cilostazol group than in the aspirin group among patients with lacunar stroke as well as those with increased blood pressure levels. As for extracranial hemorrhage requiring hospitalization, GI bleeding was also less frequent in the cilostazol than in the aspirin group. Cilostazol is supposed to be a therapeutic option to replace aspirin for secondary stroke prevention, especially in these subgroups with high risks for hemorrhagic events. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Cerebrovascular Diseases 05/2014; 37(4):296-303.
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Combination therapy with acetylsalicylic acid and dipyridamole is first-line treatment in secondary prevention of strokes. Approximately 40% of patients report headache as a side effect of dipyridamole. Dose escalation of dipyridamole reduces this side effect. In practice, different dose escalation schemes are used. In theory, slower dose escalation than a standard scheme reduces headaches even more. This study aimed to find the best dose escalation scheme for prevention of headaches as a side effect of dipyridamole in the secondary prevention of strokes. Methods: In this randomized, open-label, 4-week trial, 114 patients who had an ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack were randomized to receive either a standard or slow dose escalation scheme of dipyridamole. Participants were asked to report the four most common side effects of dipyridamole in a study diary on study days 1, 3, 5, 7, 14, 21 and 28. They were asked to score headache intensity on a visual analog scale (VAS). Participants were unaware that the trial was focused on headaches. Primary end point was to determine if a slow dose escalation scheme reduces the percentage of patients with headaches. Secondary objective was to determine the number of patients who discontinued treatment with dipyridamole because of headaches. Results: Overall 37 patients (38%) of the final population reported headache, 19 (39%) in the standard dose escalation group and 18 (37%) in the slow dose escalation group (p = 1.0). In the standard dose escalation group patients scored headaches (VAS >4) on an average of 3.3 days and patients in the slow dose escalation group on 3.6 days (p = 0.82). Mean VAS scores on study days 1, 3, 5, 7, 14 and 21 ranged from 1.4 to 3.7 in both groups. These scores did not differ significantly. However, on day 28 patients scored a significantly lower mean VAS score in the standard dose escalation group than in the slow dose escalation group (2.5 vs. 4.8; p = 0.05). In the standard dose escalation group 6 patients (11%) discontinued treatment because of side effects of dipyridamole and 3 patients (6%) in the slow dose escalation group (p = 0.49, Fisher's exact test). Conclusion: We showed that slower than standard dose escalation of dipyridamole in combination therapy with acetylsalicylic acid does not reduce headaches as a side effect. The use of such schemes should be discontinued in clinical practice. Slow dose escalation might, however, reduce the number of patients who discontinue treatment, but further research is needed to confirm this. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Cerebrovascular Diseases 05/2014; 37(4):285-289.
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    ABSTRACT: Background: An accurate subtype classification of acute ischemic stroke is important in clinical practice as it can greatly influence patient care in terms of acute management and devising secondary stroke prevention strategies. Approximately, one third of ischemic strokes are cryptogenic despite a comprehensive workup. Diagnostic workup for detecting cardioaortic sources of cerebral embolism commonly includes transthoracic echocardiography (TTE). However, TTE has a limited diagnostic power to detect some of the cardioaortic abnormalities and additional imaging modalities are often needed to accurately assess such abnormalities. Purpose: We evaluated the feasibility of cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging to detect the cardioaortic sources of ischemic stroke. Methods: A total of 106 patients were included, of which 85 had an ischemic stroke and 21 had a transient ischemic attack (TIA). Routine diagnostic workup (RDW) included brain diffusion-weighted image MRI, telemetry, magnetic resonance angiography/CT angiography of head and neck, carotid duplex ultrasonography, laboratory studies and TTE. Patients additionally underwent CMR. Subtype assignment was performed in accordance with the Stop Stroke Study of the Trial of Org 10172 in Acute Stroke Treatment classification system by a stroke neurologist after reviewing the admission notes and diagnostic test results. A second subtype classification was assigned with an additional criterion defined based on delayed enhancement (DE)-CMR findings. Additionally, the presence of non-coronary artery disease (CAD) scarring was assessed in ischemic stroke patients and compared with the TIA patients as the control group. Results: RDW detected cardioaortic embolism (CAE) stroke in 32 (37.6%) patients and cryptogenic stroke in 23 patients (27.1%). Addition of CMR resulted in a 26.1% reduction in the rate of cryptogenic strokes (6 patients). Furthermore, DE-CMR findings allowed for reclassification of three additional cryptogenic subtypes, resulting in a 39.1% reduction of cryptogenic stroke rate. Non-CAD scarring was detected in 13 (15.3%) stroke patients as opposed to only 1 (4.8%) TIA patient. Conclusions: CMR is a valuable tool for the detection of CAE sources in patients with cryptogenic ischemic stroke and provides clinicians with a unique set of information that may substantially change the long-term management of these patients. DE-CMR also detects non-CAD scarring, which may indicate a predisposition to ischemic stroke. Further studies with larger samples and long-term follow-up are needed to further evaluate the clinical significance of our findings. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Cerebrovascular Diseases 05/2014; 37(4):277-284.
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    ABSTRACT: Background: A common early complication of intracerebral haemorrhage (ICH) is haematoma enlargement (HE), a strong independent predictor of a poor outcome. Therapeutic options to limit haematoma progression are currently scarce. Haemostatic therapy may be effective in patients with ICH, but it carries the risk of thromboembolic events in unselected patients. Accurate patient selection would, therefore, be of key importance for delivering potentially successful therapeutic strategies. Currently, there is no gold standard to accurately predict HE. The presence of contrast extravasation within the haematoma on computed tomography angiography (CTA), the 'spot sign', has been reported in several studies and seems a particularly promising marker but lacks a standardised evaluation so far. Summary: We conducted a systematic review of published data to address the research question: In adults with acute spontaneous ICH, how accurately does the spot sign predict HE on follow-up imaging and thus poor functional outcome or mortality? We searched PubMed and Embase databases (from 1980 to May 2012), using a highly sensitive search strategy and including all studies involving adult patients with spontaneous ICH evaluated with CTA and follow-up CT scans, reporting any measure of clinical outcome, and reporting or allowing calculation of accuracy measures of the spot sign in predicting HE and clinical outcome. Baseline characteristics, accuracy measures and effect measures, as well as bias assessment, were reported according to PRISMA recommendations. The quality of the studies was appraised using an adapted version of the REMARK reporting recommendations. From 259 potentially relevant studies, we finally selected 6 studies (1 of them was a multicentre cohort study) covering a total of 709 patients. Studies varied substantially in terms of size, methodological quality, definitions of terms, outcomes selected and results. In particular, definition of the spot sign was not consistent in all studies. Furthermore, the only outcome measure consistently available was HE, while definitions and analyses of clinical outcomes seemed not adequate. Lastly, the choice of candidate variables for univariate and multivariate analyses did not include all determinants of HE and poor functional outcome. High heterogeneity was demonstrated (I(2): 94% for HE) with substantial potential of bias. Key Messages: Studies of the spot sign are diverse and therefore complex to interpret. Our research question could not be answered due to heterogeneity and potential of bias in the selected studies. Further appropriately powered studies using standardised definitions and taking all predictors of HE and poor clinical outcome into account are required for a proper clinical implementation. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Cerebrovascular Diseases 04/2014; 37(4):268-276.
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Clinical trials have failed to show a benefit of B vitamin therapy in reducing composite outcomes of cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction, and stroke among stroke survivors with elevated total serum homocysteine (tHcy) levels. Recent post hoc analyses have shown that numerous factors including age, baseline tHcy levels, folic acid fortification of grains, B12 status, renal function, comorbidities, and medications may modify the effect of B vitamin therapy on vascular risk in individuals with high tHcy. It remains possible that tHcy-lowering therapy may reduce cardiovascular risk in certain subgroups of stroke survivors. Post hoc subgroup analysis of the Heart Outcomes Prevention Evaluation-2 randomized controlled trial, which randomized participants with known cardiovascular disease to tHcy-lowering therapy or placebo, revealed larger treatment benefit for patients aged younger than 69 years; however, that analysis did not control for other factors. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of age on the impact of tHcy-lowering therapy for reducing vascular risk after stroke while controlling for other factors known to modify the effect of tHcy and tHcy-lowering therapy on vascular risk. Methods: In this post hoc analysis of the Vitamin Intervention for Stroke Prevention (VISP) trial, a randomized controlled trial of tHcy lowering for secondary stroke prevention, we excluded individuals who had poor renal function (glomerular filtration rate <47; the 10th percentile) or were treated with vitamin B12 injections. We assessed the effects of high-dose vitamin replacement on primary (stroke, myocardial infarction, or death) and secondary (stroke) outcomes, after stratifying by age (< vs. ≥ median age, 67 years) and adjusting for demographic and clinical factors. Results: This subgroup consisted of 2,993 individuals. Among individuals older than 67 years, high-dose vitamin therapy was associated with reduced risk of stroke, myocardial infarction or death (adjusted HR 0.76, 95% CI 0.58-0.99) and a trend towards reduced likelihood of stroke (adjusted HR 0.86, 95% CI 0.59-1.25). High-dose vitamin therapy did not impact outcomes among individuals younger than 67 years. Conclusions: In this post hoc subgroup analysis of the VISP trial, age modified the association between B vitamin therapy and recurrent vascular risk among stroke survivors with elevated serum tHcy levels. Older individuals with stroke were more likely to benefit from B vitamin therapy than younger individuals. These findings can help inform the future design of clinical trials of tHcy-lowering therapy for cardiovascular risk reduction after stroke. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Cerebrovascular Diseases 04/2014; 37(4):263-267.
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Population-based studies, as well as clinicians, often rely on self-report and hospital records to obtain a history of stroke. This study aimed to compare the validity of the diagnosis of stroke by self-report and by hospital coding according to their cross-sectional association with prevalent vascular risk factors, and longitudinal association with recurrent stroke and major cardiovascular outcomes in a large cohort of older Australian men. Methods: Between 1996 and 1999, 11,745 older men were surveyed for a self-reported history of stroke as part of the Health in Men Study (HIMS). Previous hospitalization for stroke was obtained with consent from linked medical records via the Western Australian Data Linkage System (WADLS). Subjects were followed by WADLS until December 31, 2010, for hospitalization for stroke, cardiovascular events, and all-cause mortality. The primary outcome was hospitalisation for stroke during follow-up. Secondary outcomes included incident vascular events and composite vascular endpoints. Results: At baseline, a history of stroke was reported by 903 men (7.7%), previous hospitalisation for stroke was recorded in 717 (6.1%), both self-report and hospitalisation in 467 (4.0%), and no history of stroke in 10,696 men (91.1%). Prevalent cardiovascular disease and peripheral arterial disease were more common among men with previous hospitalisation for stroke than a history of self-reported stroke (p < 0.001). In longitudinal analyses, incident aortic aneurysm was also more common among men with baseline history of hospitalization for stroke (adjusted hazard ratio (HR) 1.71, 95% CI 1.12-2.60) than among men with self-reported stroke (HR 0.88, 95% CI 0.56-1.36) compared to men with no history of stroke. With regard to the primary outcome, the rate of hospitalisation for stroke during follow-up was significantly higher among men with self-reported stroke (HR 2.44, 95% CI 2.03-2.94), hospital-coded stroke (adjusted HR 3.02, 2.42-3.78) and both self-reported and hospital-coded stroke (adjusted HR 3.33, 2.82-3.92) compared to participants with no previous stroke. Time to recurrent stroke was similar among different methods of initial stroke diagnosis (p = 0.067). Conclusions: Self-reported stroke and hospital-coded stroke have a similar prognostic value for predicting the risk of recurrent stroke. This supports the use of these ways of assessing a history of stroke for the clinical purposes of secondary prevention and for further epidemiological studies. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Cerebrovascular Diseases 03/2014; 37(4):256-262.
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    ABSTRACT: Background: African Americans (AAs) have a higher prevalence of extreme ischemic white matter hyperintensities (WMHs) on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) than do European Americans (EAs) based on the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS) score. Ischemic white matter disease, limited to the deep white matter, may be biologically distinct from disease in other regions and may reflect a previously observed trend toward an increased risk of subcortical lacunar infarcts in AAs. We hypothesized that extreme deep WMH volume (DWMV) or periventricular volume (PV) may also have a higher prevalence in AAs. Thus, we studied extreme CHS scores and extreme DWMV and PV in a healthy population enriched for cardiovascular disease risk factors. Methods: We imaged the brains of 593 subjects who were first-degree relatives of probands with early onset coronary disease prior to 60 years of age. WMHs were manually delineated on 3-tesla cranial MRI by a trained radiology reader; the location and volume of lesions were characterized using automated software. DWMV and PV were measured directly with automated software, and the CHS score was determined by a neuroradiologist. Volumes were characterized as being in the upper 25% versus lower 75% of total lesion volume. Volumes in the upper versus the remaining quartiles were examined for AA versus EA race using multiple logistic regression (generalized estimating equations adjusted for family relatedness) and adjusted for major vascular disease risk factors including age ≥55 years versus <55, sex, current smoking, obesity, hypertension, diabetes and low-density lipoprotein >160 mg/dl. Results: Participants were 58% women and 37% AAs, with a mean age of 51.5 ± 11.0 years (range, 29-74 years). AAs had significantly higher odds of having extreme DWMVs (odds ratio, OR, 1.8; 95% confidence interval, CI, 1.2-2.9; p = 0.0076) independently of age, sex, hypertension and all other risk factors. AAs also had significantly higher odds of having extreme CHS scores ≥3 (OR, 1.3; 95% CI, 1.1-3.6; p = 0.025). Extreme PV was not significantly associated with AA race (OR, 1.3; 95% CI, 0.81-2.1; p = 0.26). Conclusions: AAs from families with early-onset cardiovascular disease are more likely to have extreme DWMVs (a subclinical form of cerebrovascular disease) and an extreme CHS score, but not extreme PV, independently of age and other cardiovascular disease risk factors. These findings suggest that this AA population is at an increased risk for DWMV and may be at an increased risk for future subcortical stroke. Longitudinal studies are required to see if DWMV is predictive of symptomatic subcortical strokes in this population. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Cerebrovascular Diseases 03/2014; 37(4):244-250.
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Post-stroke memory impairment is more common among older adults, women and blacks. It is unclear whether post-stroke differences reflect differential effects of stroke per se or differences in prestroke functioning. We compare memory trajectories before and after stroke by age, sex and race. Methods: Health and Retirement Study participants aged ≥50 years (n = 17,341), with no stroke history at baseline, were interviewed biennially up to 10 years for first self- or proxy-reported stroke (n = 1,574). Segmented linear regression models were used to compare annual rates of memory change before and after stroke among 1,169 stroke survivors, 405 stroke decedents and 15,767 stroke-free participants. Effect modification was evaluated with analyses stratified by baseline age (≤70 vs. >70), sex and race (white vs. nonwhite), and using interaction terms between age/sex/race indicators and annual memory change. Results: Older (>70 years) adults experienced a faster memory decline before stroke (-0.19 vs. -0.10 points/year for survivors, -0.24 vs. -0.13 points/year for decedents, p < 0.001 for both interactions), and among stroke survivors, larger memory decrements (-0.64 vs. -0.26 points, p < 0.001) at stroke and faster memory decline (-0.15 vs. -0.07 points/year, p = 0.003) after stroke onset, compared to younger adults. Female stroke survivors experienced a faster prestroke memory decline than male stroke survivors (-0.14 vs. -0.10 points/year, p < 0.001). However, no sex differences were seen for other contrasts. Although whites had higher post-stroke memory scores than nonwhites, race was not associated with rate of memory decline during any period of time; i.e. race did not significantly modify the rate of decline before or after stroke or the immediate effect of stroke on memory. Conclusions: Older age predicted worse memory change before, at and after stroke onset. Sex and race differences in post-stroke memory outcomes might be attributable to prestroke disparities, which may be unrelated to cerebrovascular disease. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Cerebrovascular Diseases 03/2014; 37(4):235-243.
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    ABSTRACT: Background: The NIH stroke scale (NIHSS) is an indispensable tool that aids in the determination of acute stroke prognosis and decision making. Patients with posterior circulation (PC) strokes often present with lower NIHSS scores, which may result in the withholding of thrombolytic treatment from these patients. However, whether these lower initial NIHSS scores predict better long-term prognoses is uncertain. We aimed to assess the utility of the NIHSS at presentation for predicting the functional outcome at 3 months in anterior circulation (AC) versus PC strokes. Methods: This was a retrospective analysis of a large prospectively collected database of adults with acute ischemic stroke. Univariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to identify factors associated with outcome. Additional analyses were performed to determine the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves for NIHSS scores and outcomes in AC and PC infarctions. Both the optimal cutoffs for maximal diagnostic accuracy and the cutoffs to obtain >80% sensitivity for poor outcomes were determined in AC and PC strokes. Results: The analysis included 1,197 patients with AC stroke and 372 with PC stroke. The median initial NIHSS score for patients with AC strokes was 7 and for PC strokes it was 2. The majority (71%) of PC stroke patients had baseline NIHSS scores ≤4, and 15% of these 'minor' stroke patients had a poor outcome at 3 months. ROC analysis identified that the optimal NIHSS cutoff for outcome prediction after infarction in the AC was 8 and for infarction in the PC it was 4. To achieve >80% sensitivity for detecting patients with a subsequent poor outcome, the NIHSS cutoff for infarctions in the AC was 4 and for infarctions in the PC it was 2. Conclusion: The NIHSS cutoff that most accurately predicts outcomes is 4 points higher in AC compared to PC infarctions. There is potential for poor outcomes in patients with PC strokes and low NIHSS scores, suggesting that thrombolytic treatment should not be withheld from these patients based solely on the NIHSS. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Cerebrovascular Diseases 03/2014; 37(4):251-255.
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Leukoaraiosis and its progression have longitudinally been associated with cognitive decline and dementia. Its role in acute cognitive function and response to acute cerebral ischemia is less well understood. We evaluated whether the presence and extent of leukoaraiosis, or white matter hyperintensities (WMH), had an impact on performance on tests of hemispatial neglect in acute ischemic stroke patients. Methods: A series of 206 acute ischemic right-hemispheric stroke patients at Johns Hopkins Hospital underwent brain MRI and cognitive assessment for hemispatial neglect within 5 days of symptom onset. Error rates on neglect tests were evaluated, as were dichotomized measures of neglect, including 'any', 'severe' or 'worst' neglect, based on Z scores of at least 2 on 1, 2 or 3 tests (respectively) within a neglect battery. Acute infarct volumes were measured on diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) and fluid-attenuated inversion recovery images were reviewed for WMH, using the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS) rating scale (ranging from 0 to 9, with 9 being 'most extensive'). Linear regression was used to evaluate 'error rate on neglect test' as the dependent variable, as a measure of neglect severity, with 'WMH category' as the primary independent variable, including adjustment for age, sex, race and infarct volume (on DWI). Logistic regression was used to evaluate a binary definition of neglect (defined as above) relative to the same independent variable and covariates. Results: Each 1-point increase in CHS leukoaraiosis category was associated with 1.20-fold increased odds (95% CI: 1.00-1.43) of having any neglect, 1.23-fold increased odds (95% CI: 1.02-1.49) of having severe neglect and 1.33-fold increased odds of having worst neglect (95% CI: 1.01-1.76) after adjusting for infarct volume, age, sex and race. Increasing age and infarct size were also important predictors of neglect severity, with a 2.36% higher error rate (95% CI: 0.75-3.97%) on the line cancellation test associated with each category increase in CHS score; similar results were found for each of the neglect tests. Line cancellation neglect scores were worse in individuals with both severe WMH and large infarcts (p interaction, unadjusted = 0.03). Conclusions: More severe leukoaraiosis is associated with more hemispatial neglect after acute ischemic stroke, independent of infarct volume, age and sex. We found not only more frequent neglect but also more severe neglect, based on error rates on neglect tests, in individuals with increasing leukoaraiosis. This emphasizes the importance of preexisting brain microvascular disease in outcomes of stroke patients. Further studies of the possible mechanism behind this association are needed. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Cerebrovascular Diseases 03/2014; 37(3):223-230.
  • Cerebrovascular Diseases 03/2014; 37(3):231-232.
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    ABSTRACT: Background and Purpose: Bedside evaluation of dysphagia may be challenging in left middle cerebral artery (MCA) stroke due to frequently existing aphasia. Here we analyse the predictive value of common bedside screening tests and of two items of cortical dysfunction, aphasia and buccofacial apraxia (BFA), for the detection of dysphagia. Methods: We prospectively examined 67 consecutive patients with clinical and imaging evidence of acute (<72 h) left MCA stroke. Dysphonia, dysarthria, abnormal volitional cough and abnormal gag reflex were assessed followed by a standardized 50-ml water-swallowing test determining the symptoms cough and voice change after swallow. Aphasia and BFA were assessed according to defined criteria. Fibre-optic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES) was performed for validation of dysphagia. Results: 41 (61%) patients had FEES-proven dysphagia. Abnormal gag reflex, abnormal volitional cough, cough after swallow, aphasia and BFA were significantly more frequent in dysphagic as compared to non-dysphagic patients, while dysphonia, dysarthria and voice change after swallow were not. Aphasia and BFA had the highest sensitivity (97 and 78%, respectively) and high negative predictive values (89 and 68%, respectively) for dysphagia. Multivariate regression analysis did not identify an independent predictor of dysphagia. Conclusions: In left MCA stroke, the sensitivity and specificity of common bedside dysphagia screening methods are low. In contrast, aphasia and BFA have a high sensitivity and high negative predictive power, presumably due to the neuro-anatomical overlap between cortical regions involved in swallowing, speech production, imitation and voluntary movement control. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Cerebrovascular Diseases 03/2014; 37(3):217-222.
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    ABSTRACT: Background and Purpose: Medical and endovascular treatment options for stroke prevention in patients with symptomatic intracranial stenosis have evolved over the past several decades, but the impact of 2 major multicenter randomized stroke prevention trials on physician practices has not been studied. We sought to determine changes in US physician treatment choices for patients with intracranial atherosclerotic stenosis (ICAS) following 2 NIH-funded clinical trials that studied medical therapies (antithrombotic agents and risk factor control) and percutaneous transluminal angioplasty and stenting (PTAS). Methods: Anonymous surveys on treatment practices in patients with ICAS were sent to physicians at 3 time points: before publication of the NIH-funded Warfarin-Aspirin Symptomatic Intracranial Disease (WASID) trial (pre-WASID survey, 2004), 1 year after WASID publication (post-WASID survey, 2006) and 1 year after the publication of the NIH-funded Stenting and Aggressive Medical Management for Preventing Recurrent Stroke in Intracranial Stenosis (SAMMPRIS) trial (post-SAMMPRIS survey, 2012). Neurologists were invited to participate in the pre-WASID survey (n = 525). Neurologists and neurointerventionists were invited to participate in the post-WASID (n = 598) and post-SAMMPRIS (n = 2,080) surveys. The 3 surveys were conducted using web-based survey tools delivered by E-mail, and a fax-based response form delivered by E-mail and conventional mail. Data were analyzed using the χ(2) test. Results: Before WASID, there was equipoise between warfarin and aspirin for stroke prevention in patients with ICAS. The number of respondents who recommended antiplatelet treatment for ICAS increased across all 3 surveys for both anterior circulation (pre-WASID = 44%, post-WASID = 85%, post-SAMMPRIS = 94%) and posterior circulation (pre-WASID = 36%, post-WASID = 74%, post-SAMMPRIS = 83%). The antiplatelet agent most commonly recommended after WASID was aspirin, but after SAMMPRIS it was the combination of aspirin and clopidogrel. The percentage of neurologists who recommended PTAS in >25% of ICAS patients increased slightly from pre-WASID (8%) to post-WASID surveys (12%), but then decreased again after SAMMPRIS (6%). The percentage of neurointerventionists who recommended PTAS in >25% of ICAS patients decreased from post-WASID (49%) to post-SAMMPRIS surveys (17%). Conclusions: The surveyed US physicians' recommended treatments for ICAS differed over the 3 survey periods, reflecting the results of the 2 NIH-funded clinical trials of ICAS and suggesting that these clinical trials changed practice in the USA. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Cerebrovascular Diseases 02/2014; 37(3):203-211.
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Cerebral microbleeds have been related to cerebrovascular disease and dementia. They occur more frequently in patients with ischemic stroke than in the general population, but their relation to cognition in these patients is uncertain, particularly in the long run. We examined the relationship between microbleeds in patients with a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or minor ischemic stroke, and cognitive performance 4 years later. Methods: Participants were recruited from a prospective multicenter cohort of patients with a TIA or minor ischemic stroke (n = 397). They underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), including a T2*-weighted sequence, within 3 months after their ischemic event. Microbleeds, atrophy, lacunae and white matter hyperintensities (WMH) were rated visually. Cognitive status was examined in 94% of all patients who were still alive after a mean interval of 3.8 years by the Dutch version of the Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status (TICS; n = 280) or by an Informant Questionnaire on Cognitive Decline in the Elderly (IQCODE) obtained from a close relative if a TICS could not be obtained (n = 48). The relationship between presence of microbleeds and TICS or IQCODE score was assessed with linear regression analyses adjusted for age, sex, educational level and time interval between MRI and cognitive evaluation. Results: The mean age was 65 ± 12 years at inclusion. The vascular event at inclusion was a TIA in 170 patients (52%) and a minor ischemic stroke in 155 patients (47%). Microbleeds were present in 11.6% of the patients. Patients with microbleeds were significantly older than patients without microbleeds (70 ± 9 vs. 64 ± 12 years), more often had hypertension, and had more cerebral atrophy, WMH and lacunae on MRI (all p < 0.05). The mean TICS score was 35.3 ± 5.9 for patients with microbleeds (n = 29) and 34.6 ± 5.2 for patients without microbleeds (n = 251); the adjusted mean difference (95% CI) was 1.69 (-0.01 to 3.38). The total IQCODE score was 66.0 ± 10.8 for patients with microbleeds (n = 9) and 63.1 ± 12.9 for patients without microbleeds (n = 39); the adjusted mean difference was 2.43 (-7.55 to 12.41). The relative risk (adjusted for age) for abnormal cognitive performance when having microbleeds was 1.19 (95% CI: 0.63-2.26). Subcortical atrophy was associated with lower TICS score [standardized regression coefficient β: -0.12 (-0.23 to 0.00); p = 0.04] and with lower IQCODE score [0.51 (0.19-0.83); p = 0.00]. The adjusted mean difference of IQCODE scores between patients with and those without a lacunar infarct was 0.39 (0.12-0.65; p = 0.01). Conclusions: In this sample of patients with a recent TIA or minor ischemic stroke, microbleeds were not associated with cognitive performance 4 years later. Apparently, this association is different from other markers of small vessel disease. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Cerebrovascular Diseases 02/2014; 37(3):195-202.
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    ABSTRACT: Background: A spot sign on computed tomography angiography (CTA) is a potentially strong predictor of poor outcome on ultra-early radiological imaging. The aim of this study was to assess the spot sign as a predictor of functional outcome at 3 months as well as long-term mortality, with a focus on the ability to identify patients with a spontaneous, acceptable outcome. Methods: In a prospective, consecutive single-centre registry of acute stroke patients, we investigated patients with spontaneous intracerebral haemorrhage (ICH) admitted within 4.5 h after symptom onset from April 2009 to January 2013. The standard work-up in our centre included CTA for spot sign status, unless a contraindication was present. Modified Rankin Scale (mRS) scores were assessed at 3 months in the outpatient clinic or by telephone interviews. Long-term mortality was assessed by electronic chart follow-up for up to 1,500 days. Results: Of the 128 patients, 37 (28.9%) had a spot sign on admission CTA. The presence of a spot sign was associated with larger median admission haematoma volume [38.0 ml (IQR 18.0-78.0) vs. 12.0 ml (5.0-24.0); p < 0.0001] and higher median National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score [19 (IQR 12-23) vs. 12 (6-16); p < 0.0001]. Three months after stroke, the median functional outcome was considerably better in patients without spot sign [mRS score 3 (IQR 2-4) vs. 6 (4-6); p < 0.0001]. The absence of a spot sign showed a sensitivity and specificity for good outcome (mRS scores 0-2) of 0.91 and 0.36, respectively. The presence of a spot sign was, in multivariate models, an independent inverse predictor of good 3-month outcome (OR 0.17; 95% CI: 0.03-0.88) as well as a prominent independent predictor of poor 3-month outcome (mRS scores 5-6; OR 3.40; 95% CI: 1.10-10.5) and death during follow-up (HR 3.04; 95% CI: 1.45-6.34). Patients with a spot sign surviving the acute phase had long-term survival comparable to patients with no spot sign. Conclusion: The absence or presence of a spot sign is a reliable ultra-early predictor of long-term mortality and functional outcome in patients with spontaneous ICH. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Cerebrovascular Diseases 02/2014; 37(3):164-170.