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: 6.16). 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: Cerebral microbleeds (MBs) are small chronic brain hemorrhages which are likely caused by structural abnormalities of the small vessels of the brain. Owing to the paramagnetic properties of blood degradation products, MBs can be detected in vivo by using specific magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) sequences. Over the last decades, the implementation of these MRI sequences in both epidemiological and clinical studies has revealed MBs as a common finding in many different populations, including healthy individuals. Also, the topographic distribution of these MBs has been shown to be potentially associated with specific underlying vasculopathies. However, the clinical and prognostic significance of these small hemorrhages is still a matter of debate as well as a focus of extensive research. In this article, we aim to review the current knowledge on the pathophysiology and clinical implications of MBs, with special emphasis on the links between lobar MBs, cerebral amyloid angiopathy, and Alzheimer’s disease.
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    ABSTRACT: Cerebral microbleeds (microbleeds) are small, punctuate hypointense lesions seen in T2* Gradient-Recall Echo (GRE) and Susceptibility-Weighted (SWI) Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) sequences, corresponding to areas of hemosiderin breakdown products from prior microscopic hemorrhages. They occur in the setting of impaired small vessel integrity, commonly due to either hypertensive vasculopathy or cerebral amyloid angiopathy. Microbleeds are more prevalent in individuals with Alzheimer's disease (AD) dementia and in those with both ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke. However they are also found in asymptomatic individuals, with increasing prevalence with age, particularly in carriers of the Apolipoprotein (APOE) ε4 allele. Other neuroimaging findings that have been linked with microbleeds include lacunar infarcts and white matter hyperintensities on MRI, and increased cerebral β-amyloid burden using (11)C-PiB Positron Emission Tomography. The presence of microbleeds has been suggested to confer increased risk of incident intracerebral hemorrhage - particularly in the setting of anticoagulation - and of complications of immunotherapy for AD. Prospective data regarding the natural history and sequelae of microbleeds are currently limited, however there is a growing evidence base that will serve to inform clinical decision-making in the future.
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    ABSTRACT: Brain microbleeds (BMBs) are common in hypertensive patients and are associated with higher blood pressure (BP) levels. Little is known about risk factors for progression of BMBs, in particular the contribution of ambulatory BP levels. We aimed to determine BMB progression and the association with BP levels in a cohort of essential hypertensive patients. At baseline and after 2 years of follow-up, 193 participants underwent brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and 24-hour ambulatory BP measurement in addition to office BP measurement. The relation between BMB progression and baseline untreated BP characteristics was tested in logistic regression analyses. Progression of BMBs on follow-up MRI was seen in 12 (6%) participants. Patients with progression were significantly older, and the prevalence as well as total number of BMBs at baseline was greater. With correction for age and sex, baseline 24-hour systolic and diastolic BP and 24-hour pulse pressure significantly predicted progression. Similar results were seen for baseline awake and asleep BP. On additional adjustments for baseline presence of BMBs, the associations remained significant for 24-hour, awake, and asleep systolic BP, awake diastolic BP, and awake and asleep pulse pressure. Office systolic BP was also associated with progression of BMBs, whereas office diastolic BP was not. High ambulatory BP levels are important and possibly modifiable predictors for progression of BMBs. This warrants further study, with an adequately long follow-up period and early adequate treatment of hypertension.
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