Cerebral microbleeds are predictive of mortality in the elderly.

Department of Radiology, C2-S, Leiden University Medical Center, PO Box 9600, 2300 RC Leiden, the Netherlands.
Stroke (Impact Factor: 6.02). 03/2011; 42(3):638-44. DOI: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.110.595611
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To investigate the prognostic value of cerebral microbleeds (CMB) regarding overall, cardiovascular-related, and stroke-related mortality and to investigate possible differences based on a cerebral amyloid angiopathy-type and nonlobar distribution of microbleeds.
We included 435 subjects who were participants from the nested MRI substudy of the PROspective Study of Pravastatin in the Elderly at Risk (PROSPER). Cox proportional hazard models were applied to estimate the risk of overall, cardiovascular-related, and stroke-related death associated with microbleeds in general and microbleeds with a lobar distribution suggestive of the presence of cerebral amyloid angiopathy. The corresponding Kaplan-Meier survival curves were calculated.
Subjects with >1 CMB had a 6-fold risk of stroke-related death compared to subjects without CMB (hazard ratio, 5.97; 95% CI, 1.60-22.26; P=0.01). The diagnosis of nonlobar microbleeds was associated with >2-fold risk of cardiovascular death compared to subjects without microbleeds (hazard ratio, 2.67; 95% CI, 1.23-5.81; P=0.01). Subjects with probable cerebral amyloid angiopathy-type microbleeds had >7-fold risk of stroke-related death compared to subjects without CMB (hazard ratio, 7.20; 95% CI, 1.44-36.10; P=0.02).
This is the first study investigating the association between microbleeds and risk of overall, cardiovascular-related, and stroke-related mortality in an elderly population. Our findings indicate that the diagnosis of microbleeds is potentially of clinical relevance. Larger studies are needed to expand our observations and to address potential clinical implications and cost-benefits of such a policy.

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    ABSTRACT: Susceptibility-weighted and gradient-recalled echo T2* magnetic resonance imaging have enabled the detection of very small foci of blood within the brain, which have been termed "cerebral microbleeds." These petechial intraparenchymal hemorrhages have begun to emerge as diagnostically and prognostically useful markers in a variety of disease states. Severe hypertension and cerebral amyloid angiopathy are perhaps the best established microhemorrhagic conditions from neuroimaging literature; however, many others are also recognized including cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy, subcortical infarcts, and leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL), moyamoya disease, fat embolism, cerebral malaria, and infective endocarditis. Microbleeds are also a common finding in the setting of trauma and stroke. The purpose of this review is to broadly describe the neuroimaging of cerebral microbleeds in a wide variety of conditions, including the differences in their appearance and distribution in different disease states. In a few situations, the presence of microbleeds may influence clinical management, and we discuss these situations in detail. The major importance of this emerging field in neuroimaging is the potential to identify microvascular pathology at an asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic stage and create a window of therapeutic opportunity.
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    ABSTRACT: Background and Purpose-Lobar microbleeds suggestive of cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA) are often identified on MRI in the absence of lobar intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH). We compared the baseline characteristics and risk of subsequent ICH among such patients to those presenting with CAA-related lobar ICH. Methods-Clinical data (demographics, risk factors), apolipoprotein E genotype, neuroimaging markers of CAA severity (microbleed counts, leukoaraiosis volume), and clinical outcomes (incidence rates of ICH and death during a mean follow-up of 5.3 +/- 3.8 years) were compared between 63 patients enrolled because of incidentally found microbleeds and 316 with CAA-related ICH, in our prospectively enrolled cohort. Predictors of incident ICH were explored in the microbleed-only patients using multivariable Cox regression models. Results-Microbleed-only patients shared similar demographic, apolipoprotein E, and vascular risk profiles with lobar ICH patients, but had more lobar microbleeds (median, 10 versus 2; P<0.001) and higher leukoaraiosis volumes (median, 31 versus 23 mL; P=0.02). Microbleed-only patients had a nontrivial incidence rate of ICH, not different from patients presenting with ICH (5 versus 8.9 per 100 person-years; adjusted hazard ratio, 0.58; 95% confidence interval, 0.31-1.06; P=0.08). Microbleed-only patients had a higher mortality rate (hazard ratio, 1.67; 95% confidence interval, 1.1-2.6) compared with ICH survivors. Warfarin use and increasing age were independent predictors of future ICH among microbleed-only patients after correction for other covariates. Conclusions-Patients presenting with isolated lobar microbleeds on MRI have a genetic, neuroimaging, and hemorrhagic risk profile suggestive of severe CAA pathology. They have a substantial risk of incident ICH, potentially affecting decisions regarding anticoagulation in clinical situations.
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