Associations of durations of antiplatelet use and vascular risk factors with the presence of cerebral microbleeds

Kazuo Yamashiro, Ryota Tanaka, Yasuyuki Okuma, Yuji Ueno, Yasutaka Tanaka, Nobutaka Hattori, Takao Urabe
Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases: the Official Journal of National Stroke Association 2014, 23 (3): 433-40
The association of the presence of cerebral microbleeds with antiplatelet use remains controversial. Long durations of antiplatelet use and vascular risk factors may have a greater impact on the development of cerebral microbleeds than short durations. The aim of this study was to determine whether the durations of antiplatelet use and vascular risk factors were associated with the presence of cerebral microbleeds in patients with ischemic cerebrovascular disease, who are frequently treated with antiplatelet agents. Two hundred twenty outpatients with ischemic cerebrovascular lesions (eg, cerebral infarcts and/or white matter lesions) detected by magnetic resonance imaging were examined. Patients with a history of cerebral hemorrhage were excluded. Cerebral microbleeds were observed in 71 (32.3%) patients. Deep or infratentorial microbleeds and strictly lobar microbleeds were observed in 53 (24.1%) patients and 18 (8.2%) patients, respectively. Aspirin use (odds ratio, 2.14; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.02-4.73; P = .04) and a long duration (≥10 years) of aspirin use (odds ratio, 3.75; 95% CI, 1.31-10.86; P = .01) were significantly associated with deep or infratentorial microbleeds in the crude analysis, but this became nonsignificant after adjustment for hypertension and other confounding factors. The prevalence of antiplatelet use was significantly higher in the patients with hypertension than in those without hypertension (72.5% versus 49.1%, P = .002). Hypertension (odds ratio, 2.50; 95% CI, 1.11-6.41; P = .04) was significantly associated with the development of deep or infratentorial microbleeds even after adjustment for confounding factors and the association increased with the duration of hypertension. In conclusion, we found a significant association between aspirin use and deep or infratentorial microbleeds, but this association may reflect the presence of hypertension as a confounding factor.

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