Familial hypercholesterolemia patients treated with statins at no increased risk for intracranial vascular lesions despite increased cholesterol burden and extracranial atherosclerosis

Sami Soljanlahti, Taina Autti, Kirsi Lauerma, Raili Raininko, Pekka Keto, Hannu Turtola, Alpo F Vuorio
Stroke; a Journal of Cerebral Circulation 2005, 36 (7): 1572-4

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: To correlate known vascular disease risk factors and the signs of extracranial and intracranial changes of vascular origin in young patients with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (FH).

METHODS: 39 DNA test-verified heterozygous FH North Karelian patients (FH-NK), aged 6 to 48, 28 of them treated with statins, and 25 healthy controls underwent brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and carotid ultrasound.

RESULTS: Common carotid intima-media thickness was significantly greater in the patients (P=0.005). MR angiography showed no pathological changes, other than 1 incidental aneurysm. The number and size of white matter hyperintensities on T2-weighted MR images, considered as markers of microvascular alterations, did not differ between patients and controls.

CONCLUSIONS: FH-NK patients treated with statins seem to be at no increased risk for brain infarcts or other brain lesions of vascular origin when younger than age 50.

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