Neurology 2016 Sep 12;87(12):1212-9. Epub 2016 Aug 12.
From Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Department of Neurology (R.M.A., S.M.A.v.d.B., I.W.M.v.U., L.C.A.R.-J., N.A.M.M., P.S., H.C.S., E.J.v.D., F.-E.d.L.), and Diagnostic Image Analysis Group, Department of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine (M.G., B.P.), Radboudumc; Institute for Computing and Information Sciences (M.G.), Radboud University, Nijmegen, the Netherlands; and Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Neurology Unit (L.C.A.R.-J.), University of Cambridge, UK.
Objective: To study the long-term prevalence of small vessel disease after young stroke and to compare this to healthy controls.
Methods: This prospective cohort study comprises 337 patients with an ischemic stroke or TIA, aged 18-50 years, without a history of TIA or stroke. In addition, 90 age- and sex-matched controls were included. At follow-up, lacunes, microbleeds, and white matter hyperintensity (WMH) volume were assessed using MRI. To investigate the relation between risk factors and small vessel disease, logistic and linear regression were used.
Results: After mean follow-up of 9.9 (SD 8.1) years, 337 patients were included (227 with an ischemic stroke and 110 with a TIA). Mean age of patients was 49.8 years (SD 10.3) and 45.4% were men; for controls, mean age was 49.4 years (SD 11.9) and 45.6% were men. Compared with controls, patients more often had at least 1 lacune (24.0% vs 4.5%, p < 0.0001). In addition, they had a higher WMH volume (median 1.5 mL [interquartile range (IQR) 0.5-3.7] vs 0.4 mL [IQR 0.0-1.0], p < 0.001). Compared with controls, patients had the same volume WMHs on average 10-20 years earlier. In the patient group, age at stroke (β = 0.03, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.02-0.04) hypertension (β = 0.22, 95% CI 0.04-0.39), and smoking (β = 0.18, 95% CI 0.01-0.34) at baseline were associated with WMH volume.
Conclusions: Patients with a young stroke have a higher burden of small vessel disease than controls adjusted for confounders. Cerebral aging seems accelerated by 10-20 years in these patients, which may suggest an increased vulnerability to vascular risk factors.