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Inter-hemispheric characterisation of small vessel disease imaging markers after subcortical infarct

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http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/brb3.595/full
Original languageEnglish
JournalBrain and Behavior
Early online date3 Nov 2016
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Nov 2016

Abstract

In structural Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of patients with a recent small subcortical infarct (RSSI), small vessel disease (SVD) imaging markers coexist. However, their spatial distribution and prevalence with respect to the hemisphere of the RSSI is not yet known.
From brain MRI in 187 patients with an acute lacunar ischaemic stroke clinical syndrome and a relevant DWI-positive lesion, we semi-automatically extracted the RSSI, microbleeds, lacunes, old cortical infarcts and white matter hyperintensities (WMH) using optimised thresholding in the relevant sequences, and rated the load of perivascular spaces. We registered all images to an age-relevant brain template and calculated the probability distribution of all SVD markers mentioned for patients that had the RSSI in each hemisphere separately. We used the Wilcoxon and χ2 tests to compare the volumes and frequencies of occurrence, respectively, of the SVD markers between hemispheres throughout the sample.
52% patients (n=97) had the RSSI in the left hemisphere, 42% (n=78) in the right, 2.7% (n=5) in both and 3.7% (n=7) in the cerebellum or brainstem. There was no significant difference in RSSI frequency between left and right hemispheres (p=0.10) in the sample. The median volume of the RSSI (expressed as a percentage of the total intracranial volume) was 0.05% (IQR = 0.06). There was no difference in median % volume of the right RSSIs versus left (p=0.16). Neither was there a significant inter-hemispheric difference in the volume of any of the SVD markers regardless of the location of the RSSI and they were equally distributed in both hemispheres.
Assessment of SVD imaging markers in the contralateral hemisphere could be used as a proxy for the SVD load in the whole brain to avoid contamination by the RSSI of the measurements, especially of WMH.

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