Mortality Outcomes in a Large Population with and without Covert Cerebrovascular Disease

Úna Clancy, Eric J Puttock, Wansu Chen, William Whiteley, Ellen M Vickery, Lester Y Leung, Patrick H Luetmer, David F Kallmes, Sunyang Fu, Chengyi Zheng, Hongfang Liu, David M Kent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Covert cerebrovascular disease (CCD) is frequently reported on neuroimaging and associates with increased dementia and stroke risk. We aimed to determine how incidentally-discovered CCD during clinical neuroimaging in a large population associates with mortality. We screened CT and MRI reports of adults aged ≥50 in the Kaiser Permanente Southern California health system who underwent neuroimaging for a non-stroke clinical indication from 2009-2019. Natural language processing identified incidental covert brain infarcts (CBI) and/or white matter hyperintensities (WMH), grading WMH as mild/moderate/severe. Models adjusted for age, sex, ethnicity, multimorbidity, vascular risks, depression, exercise, and imaging modality. Of n=241,028, the mean age was 64.9 (SD=10.4); mean follow-up 4.46 years; 178,554 (74.1%) had CT; 62,474 (25.9%) had MRI; 11,328 (4.7%) had CBI; and 69,927 (29.0%) had WMH. The mortality rate per 1,000 person-years with CBI was 59.0 (95%CI 57.0-61.1); with WMH=46.5 (45.7-47.2); with neither=17.4 (17.1-17.7). In adjusted models, mortality risk associated with CBI was modified by age, e.g. HR 1.34 [1.21-1.48] at age 56.1 years vs HR 1.22 [1.17-1.28] at age 72 years. Mortality associated with WMH was modified by both age and imaging modality e.g., WMH on MRI at age 56.1 HR = 1.26 [1.18-1.35]; WMH on MRI at age 72 HR 1.15 [1.09-1.21]; WMH on CT at age 56.1 HR 1.41 [1.33-1.50]; WMH on CT at age 72 HR 1.28 [1.24-1.32], vs. patients without CBI or without WMH, respectively. Increasing WMH severity associated with higher mortality, e.g. mild WMH on MRI had adjusted HR=1.13 [1.06-1.20] while severe WMH on CT had HR=1.45 [1.33-1.59]. Incidentally-detected CBI and WMH on population-based clinical neuroimaging can predict higher mortality rates. We need treatments and healthcare planning for individuals with CCD.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAging and disease
Early online date19 Feb 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Feb 2024


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