Cerebral microbleeds as a risk factor for subsequent intracerebral hemorrhages among patients with acute ischemic stroke

Yu Hua Fan, Lei Zhang, Wynnie W M Lam, Vincent C T Mok, Ka Sing Wong
Stroke; a Journal of Cerebral Circulation 2003, 34 (10): 2459-62

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Cerebral microbleeds (MBs) detected by gradient-echo MRI are considered evidence of advanced microangiopathy with potential for further bleeding. The goal of this study was to determine whether the presence of MBs is a risk factor for subsequent intracerebral hemorrhage among patients with acute ischemic stroke.

METHODS: We prospectively examined patients hospitalized with acute cerebral infarction with gradient-echo T2*-weighted MRI for the presence of MBs. We recorded demographics, medical history, and stroke severity. Patients were then followed up for the development of stroke, other vascular events, and death.

RESULTS: One hundred twenty-one consecutive patients with a mean age of 67.96+/-10.97 years were recruited. MBs were present in 43 patients (35.5%). During follow-up of 27.15+/-11.68 months, 16 patients had recurrent stroke. There was no difference between patients with or without MB for the development of ischemic stroke (5 and 6 respectively, P=0.841). However, 4 patients (9.3%) with MBs and 1 patient (1.3%) without an MB had intracerebral hemorrhage during follow-up (P=0.053). Of the 5 patients who developed subsequent intracerebral hemorrhages, 3 were treated with aspirin and 2 with anticoagulation. Two of the intracerebral hemorrhages occurred in the site where asymptomatic MBs were found at baseline.

CONCLUSIONS: MBs appear to be a risk factor for subsequent intracerebral hemorrhage among patients with ischemic stroke in this small cohort of Chinese stroke patients. A large cohort study is required to confirm this observation.

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