Rapid appearance of new cerebral microbleeds after acute ischemic stroke

S-B Jeon, S U Kwon, A-H Cho, S-C Yun, J S Kim, D-W Kang
Neurology 2009 November 17, 73 (20): 1638-44

BACKGROUND: It is unknown whether the development of cerebral microbleeds (MBs), small areas of signal loss on T2*-weighted gradient-echo imaging (GRE), follows a slow or a rapid process. We hypothesized that MBs may develop rapidly after certain critical events, such as strokes, and investigated the frequency, location, and factors associated with the formation of new MBs after acute ischemic stroke.

METHODS: We retrospectively examined 237 consecutive acute ischemic stroke patients who underwent MRI within 24 hours and follow-up MRI during the week after symptom onset. We defined new MBs as MBs that newly appeared on follow-up GRE outside the infarcted area. We examined the association of new MBs with demographics, risk factors, laboratory data, baseline MBs, and small vessel disease (SVD; leukoaraiosis and lacunar infarctions).

RESULTS: Seventy-five patients (31.6%) had baseline MBs, and 30 (12.7%) developed new MBs. Multiple logistic regression analysis indicated that the presence of baseline MBs (odds ratio [OR] 5.72, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.12-15.42, p = 0.001) and severe SVD (OR 2.94, 95% CI 1.12-7.77, p = 0.03) independently predicted the development of new MBs. Of the 56 new MBs, 29 (51.8%) appeared in the lobar location, 17 (30.4%) appeared in the deep location, and 10 (17.9%) appeared in the infratentorial location.

CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that new microbleeds (MBs) can develop rapidly after acute ischemic stroke. Baseline MBs and severe small vessel disease are predictors for the development of new MBs. Further studies will be needed to investigate the clinical implications and mechanisms of these findings.

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